Mold remediation is no big deal… until it’s not. Let me tell you about the dangers.
#moldremediation #insurance #liability #sick
Mold remediation is no big deal… until it’s not. Let me tell you about the dangers.
- Getting paid the ethical way, fast and in-full. Where do some contractors fall down and make mistakes?
- Why insurance companies don’t like to pay for profit. A little history of what happened in the industry. We (contractors) laid an unethical foundation.
- Should OMP be negotiable? Why are you entitled to your OMP? How to stand up for your rights and what you charge. Who is your actual client?
- Bulk pricing/invoicing. What is it? Does it work? Should I use it?
- Advocating for flat rate pricing. How to make them take you seriously. Documentation gets paid. You need a system, like The 24 Hour Tech.
- Being a better sales person. Soft sell vs. hard sell. What’s happening with deductibles? The need to remind property owners. Skin in the game and cash flow issues. Getting property owners on your side. What are they in for? How big will their final invoice be?
- The need for a clean contract. Have you read your fine print? Don’t give up your power. Don’t use boiler-plate contracts. You don’t need to feel guilty about charging your worth.
- Don’t be a Hyundai. What does that mean? The insurance company wants that. Do you?
- TPAs are Necessary? We’re all in business to make money. Here’s an alternate opinion.
- Insurance Profit Game. We’re certainly not getting the money. The insured isn’t getting the money. Who’s getting the money?
- Making the case that CONTRACTORS are the enemy. We know this is ridiculous, but the insurance company paints this picture.
- How much money do you need? You should know how much you have spent on a job. You need to make at least that much. Everything else is profit. What if you don’t know? The insurance company knows…
- Having bad intentions from the start. This leads to difficult discussions later on. Be honest from the start. Trust us.
- Power Question FREE DOWNLOAD. Put the adjustor in his or her place. Tell your client EXACTLY what they will say. Arm them with the right answers.
- TOO MUCH TO COVER! Seriously. There’s a ton of golden nuggets in this one.
Take Your Power Back!
Ask your insurance company THESE QUESTIONS to get PAID IN FULL, before things get ugly. Request the answers via email so you have documentation for later (especially if this goes to trial!)
- Is my claim covered? This seems like a very simple question. If we lived in a perfect world, it would be. You would hope that the answer is “YES!” and you could get down to business. Unfortunately, the answer is usually “Maybe” and leads to an entirely different set of questions. Basically, you want to determine if the insurance company wants to make you whole, or just cover their butts and continue to make money.
- What if my loss exceeds my policy limits? Here’s where the picture starts to become more clear. Is the insurance company going to do right by me? Who knows? It could happen.
- Are there exclusions in my policy which apply to this claim? Welcome to the insurance game. Unfortunately, they wrote the play book. If there is a legal way for them to wriggle out of paying you, they will likely take it. Find the possible loop-holes now and save yourself a nasty surprise later.
- Will my insurance company pay all the necessary costs I incur to put my home back the way it was? Sometimes, a company will pay only the bare minimum. Your house might have had wall-to-wall, plush carpet. Will the restore include this?
- Can I choose the contractor to perform the needed repairs to my home? (If not, why?) Crooked insurance companies have led to the rise of “pet contractors.” These mercenaries will do exactly what the insurance company asks them. They will use substandard, cheap materials. They will cut costs by cutting corners. The only way to protect yourself is to hire your own contractor. This is the option we recommend. If you need a recommendation for a reputable contractor, we suggest a member of the Restoration Rebels group.
- Is there anything you can tell me that will help to settle this claim? Every insurance company has a quirk or two. We want to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. It is better to jump through the required hoops and get paid in full. You don’t want your claim hung up on a simple form.
- When can I expect the first check (how much will it be?) and when will the remaining checks be issued? Like lottery winnings, sometimes a claim is paid out a little at a time. This can be good to get a contractor to work faster. He or she needs to buy equipment and hire a crew. This is a whole lot easier with a little money to grease the wheels.
- What if the total of all of the checks is not enough to complete repairs? This is a trick the insurance company might pull on you. They might send a hefty advance and then not follow through with the remaining payments. Keep a running total of what you have received and what you have left to go.
- Are you authorized to settle my claim? (Obtain a name, title, phone number, and email of the person that is authorized). Do you know that old trick a used car salesman uses? “I have to go speak to my manager.” Don’t let this happen to you! Make sure you are getting answers from the manager. Full stop.
Take your power back! Download a copy of these questions as a PDF.
You did the job. You hired the guys. You put in the sweat and tears. Now the insurance company wants to cut you a deal. Wait a second. A deal for who?
Don’t back down. The insurance companies are all bark. If you stand your ground, they will be forced to pay you in full.
Still don’t know how? Well, first you have to pull on your big boy pants. Don’t think you can? We can certainly do it for you. Our pants are big, indeed.
You can roll over and show your belly. You can take the offered 80%. Before you do that, think of how that will affect all of us. The insurance company gets used to screwing the little guy.
We want you to take the third option. We want you to fight back.
Are you ready?
STEP ONE: Set the tone and proper expectations.
The insurance company doesn’t want to pay you in full. Everybody knows that. To think otherwise is just crazy talk.
Out of the gate, they’ll try to pay you less. Here is an example of the types of emails I exchange with insurance companies all the time.
They are quick to throw the first punch.
“Your case is under review” they say. That’s all fine and good. You can review the case as much as you want, but you still need to pay the invoice.
This is not a negotiation. If they want to negotiate, they can take it to court. We know full-well that we would win a case if it went to trial. Properly documented losses never go to trial.
Xactimate shows in detail all the work that was done, along with what that work is worth.
There’s a term for this. It’s an “open and shut case.”
Your first email back to the insurance company should cover the following points:
You signed a contract with the insured.
- They are legally not able to change the contract.
- The invoice that was sent is for services rendered and is non-negotiable.
- If they don’t pay promptly, there will be late fees.
STEP TWO: Maintain pressure and stay the course
Let me repeat: The insurance company does not want to pay you in full. We all know this. We expect this.
Their next email will list some reason why they can’t pay you in full.
This is a lie. They are likely a billion-dollar company. The way they became a billion-dollar company is by ripping off folks like you and me.
Your next email should remain firm and non-negotiable.
Include the following in email #2:
- You don’t care what the given reason is.
- You signed a contract with the insured, not the carrier.
- This is an invoice and not an estimate.
- You cannot change your line item by law.
- Making a change to a signed contract is a felony.
- You stand behind your quality, and you are fully certified.
Remember: The insurance is playing a game with you. They want you to back down and take their low-ball offer. They have no teeth in their threats.
Under no circumstances should you accept their first offer unless that is an offer of payment in full (hey, it could happen!). Or you can decide you are willing to accept it.
STEP THREE: Count Your Folding Money
We aren’t doing anything illegal. We aren’t doing anything immoral. We’re getting paid for work we already performed.
Usually, after putting up a small fight, the insurance company will pay you in full.
Really, it’s not much of a fight.
If they thought they had a leg to stand on, they would take you to court. Since they know they would lose that battle, there is no legal fight.
Most legal battles are not started by the insurance carrier. Instead, they are started by the insured party. When they realize that they’re on hook to pay the contractor invoice, they sue the insurance company to get full restitution. If the insurance company is smart, they would settle at this point.
Some aren’t so smart. As a contractor, that isn’t your fight.
ABOUT CLAIMS DELEGATES
In 2012, Andy McCabe founded the property claim estimating and claims consultancy called Claims Delegates. Claims Delegates retains an army of dedicated professionals who write Xactimate® estimates for contractors, attorneys and adjusters across the country. They also consult on Large Loss and CAT events. They are currently accepting new client applications. Contact us today!
It’s a common dilemma. You had a flood in your house. The insurance company offers $10,000 to fix it. You can’t find a contractor to do the work for under $40,000. You may feel this is unfair. It certainly is. This is also by design. The insurance company makes more money when it pays you less than what you’re OWED.
Insurance companies use a very complicated program called Xactimate. This is also by design. If it were easy to use, the common property owner could master it. Xactimate software is very expensive. If it were affordable, the average property owner would have a copy.
We’re not talking about Microsoft Word, here.
Is it starting to feel like the deck is stacked against you? The insurance company is trying to get you on the ropes. They want you to feel powerless and hopeless. When you’re in that position, you will accept ANY low-ball offer they give you. Hint: You don’t have to accept the first offer.
Time to get US in your corner!
Like it or not, the insurance company uses Xactimate. That is their “language.” Speaking the same language as the insurance company generally leads to bigger and more successful claims. That’s why you need Xactimate.
Don’t let the insurance company tell YOU how much the damage is worth. Let an advocate fight for you. We’re on YOUR side!
We’re industry veterans. We’ve been doing restoration jobs for decades. We know the REAL cost of fixing a damaged property. Hint: The first offer from the insurance company will ALWAYS be less than what they think your claim is worth.
We need to be on the same page when we go to the mat with the insurance company. They have a “professional” quote that says the damage can be fixed for $X. We have a quote that says the damage can be fixed for $Y. Which quote is going to succeed? Hint: The property owner (YOU) have more power than you think you do!
Andy McCabe is a licensed Public Adjuster. He is insured and bonded. He’s been doing this a long time. Let him go after your carrier! Put me in, coach!