Insurance work questions

Guys

Most of my work has been non insurance. A recent hail storm in my area is about to change that. Less than 24 hours after the storm, the seasoned local roofers had signs in many of the yards. Since I’m new to this side of the business i was hoping you could share with me the closing techniques that are used to secure those customers so quickly. Below is a few direct questions.

  1. Do you use a contingency agreement for this situation the customer signs giving you the job if the insurance claim is approved? If so could you share how you secure that so quickly. I’m looking for an example of what you say when they answer the door to steer that conversation toward signing an agreement.

  2. Once you submit your bid to the customer do you get them to sign an agreement listing you as the copay on the insurance check? If so, do you send that agreement to the insurance company along with your bid ?

I guess what I’m looking for here is a brief description (or long if you have time) of how you go from the knock on the door to quickly securing that customer and getting your sign in the yard. It would also be helpful if you could outline the type and nature of the agreements you get the customer to sign for the entire process. I currently use just one contract with the customers. I get them to sign at the time of the bid but it’s generally done when they accept my bid and are ready to proceed. This is on mostly non insurance jobs. I want to be better prepared for the next storm opportunity to take the right steps to secure customers quickly. Please share your techniques so that myself and others out there can learn how it’s done. Our work is quality and it speaks for itself but without the right approach to secure this type of customer quickly, we will never get a chance to show them how good we are.

[quote=“noserider1234”]Guys

Most of my work has been non insurance. A recent hail storm in my area is about to change that. Less than 24 hours after the storm, the seasoned local roofers had signs in many of the yards. Since I’m new to this side of the business i was hoping you could share with me the closing techniques that are used to secure those customers so quickly. Below is a few direct questions.

  1. Do you use a contingency agreement for this situation the customer signs giving you the job if the insurance claim is approved? If so could you share how you secure that so quickly. I’m looking for an example of what you say when they answer the door to steer that conversation toward signing an agreement.

We quit using a Contingency, we have a Contract. We did this on the advise of our Attorney. You can’t get paid money on a Contingency, you get paid when someone Contracts you to do work.

  1. Once you submit your bid to the customer do you get them to sign an agreement listing you as the copay on the insurance check? If so, do you send that agreement to the insurance company along with your bid ?

Yes we do. It also states the Homeowner gives their permission to their Insurance Company to speak to us about their claim. We do give that to the Adjuster along with our estimate. The co pay part of it rarely works though.

I guess what I’m looking for here is a brief description (or long if you have time) of how you go from the knock on the door to quickly securing that customer and getting your sign in the yard. It would also be helpful if you could outline the type and nature of the agreements you get the customer to sign for the entire process. I currently use just one contract with the customers. I get them to sign at the time of the bid but it’s generally done when they accept my bid and are ready to proceed. This is on mostly non insurance jobs. I want to be better prepared for the next storm opportunity to take the right steps to secure customers quickly. Please share your techniques so that myself and others out there can learn how it’s done. Our work is quality and it speaks for itself but without the right approach to secure this type of customer quickly, we will never get a chance to show them how good we are.

I don’t know that you “quickly” do that. Not sure what quickly means. Process is to introduce yourself, make your pitch, inspect roof, if damage found, show Customer. At that point you explain how you can assist them in their efforts to get their claim approved. If they’re in agreement, you present your contract to be signed.

[/quote]

AD

Thanks for the reply. My approach was just as you described. I’m not sure these customers even got a roof inspection. The neighborhoods looked like they were hit with mortar fire. Baseball size hail went thru the decks on some. Every roof in the main affected area was trashed. Roofing company signs went in yards so fast I’m wondering if the companies used canvassers just setting appointments for the roofers to come back later and put their sign in the yard. On many doors I knocked on I asked if they had the roof inspected and they said many stopped by but I was the only one who offered to inspect. How do you get a customer to sign a contract before you give them a bid? I think the answer to that might help me get a handle on this.

As usual great advice Mark,Also just because there is a sign in the yard does not mean the job is taken.I know companies that put signs in yards after giving estimates or simply dropping off a door hanger or flyer.Those are called “Rogue” and “Bandit” signs.

Instead of asking if they have had an inspection,offer them one.

I tell them Hi,I’m Jim with blah,blah blah,I am going door to door giving free storm damage inspections.I am offering my inspection of your property to determine if your property has sustained any storm damage by wind or hail.

After my inspection is complete I will knock on your door or ring the door bell and let you know if I found any damage.I am fully insured and licensed and here is copies of those documents and a little information about my company for you to read while I perform my inspection.

Once I determine if there is damage I will let you know how my company can help ease the stress of your claim process.

[quote=“noserider1234”]

AD

Thanks for the reply. My approach was just as you described. I’m not sure these customers even got a roof inspection. The neighborhoods looked like they were hit with mortar fire. Baseball size hail went thru the decks on some. Every roof in the main affected area was trashed. Roofing company signs went in yards so fast I’m wondering if the companies used canvassers just setting appointments for the roofers to come back later and put their sign in the yard. On many doors I knocked on I asked if they had the roof inspected and they said many stopped by but I was the only one who offered to inspect. How do you get a customer to sign a contract before you give them a bid? I think the answer to that might help me get a handle on this.[/quote]

If it is an insurance job, you’re not giving them a bid. Your contract/contingency states you are agreeing to do their repairs for the insurance scope of loss amount. Your job then is to get the job approved and get the insurance to pay what they should be paying for the repairs. You need to establish value added to the Homeowner to motivate them to sign your contract/contingency. That would include but not limited to inspecting and documenting damage with pictures and graphs/sketches, preparing an estimate for their insurance company to make sure all damages are paid for, meeting with the Adjuster to insure all damages are inspected, bringing materials to them for color/type/model selection, handling the invoicing with the insurance company, handling all supplements, etc… In other words, you are shouldering the burden of dealing with the insurance company and offering the Homeowner a turnkey solution which would include the quality work provided by your company which is local, established, reliable, insured, licensed, etc… How could they not sign with you with what you have to offer? How could they possibly consider an out of town scumbag storm chaser when they have a neighbor like you that will take care of them now and be there for them down the road if needed?

It isn’t rocket science.

[quote=“Authentic_Dad”]

[quote=“noserider1234”]

AD

Thanks for the reply. My approach was just as you described. I’m not sure these customers even got a roof inspection. The neighborhoods looked like they were hit with mortar fire. Baseball size hail went thru the decks on some. Every roof in the main affected area was trashed. Roofing company signs went in yards so fast I’m wondering if the companies used canvassers just setting appointments for the roofers to come back later and put their sign in the yard. On many doors I knocked on I asked if they had the roof inspected and they said many stopped by but I was the only one who offered to inspect. How do you get a customer to sign a contract before you give them a bid? I think the answer to that might help me get a handle on this.[/quote]

If it is an insurance job, you’re not giving them a bid. Your contract/contingency states you are agreeing to do their repairs for the insurance scope of loss amount. Your job then is to get the job approved and get the insurance to pay what they should be paying for the repairs. You need to establish value added to the Homeowner to motivate them to sign your contract/contingency. That would include but not limited to inspecting and documenting damage with pictures and graphs/sketches, preparing an estimate for their insurance company to make sure all damages are paid for, meeting with the Adjuster to insure all damages are inspected, bringing materials to them for color/type/model selection, handling the invoicing with the insurance company, handling all supplements, etc… In other words, you are shouldering the burden of dealing with the insurance company and offering the Homeowner a turnkey solution which would include the quality work provided by your company which is local, established, reliable, insured, licensed, etc… How could they not sign with you with what you have to offer? How could they possibly consider an out of town scumbag storm chaser when they have a neighbor like you that will take care of them now and be there for them down the road if needed?

It isn’t rocket science.[/quote]

No definitely not rocket science. I’ll work on getting a contract/contingency agreement as you described. I don’t have that but see it’s importance. I can handle all the other task you mentioned. Like anything in sales with a little practice I’ll get better at honing my delivery. Thanks for sharing. If others have any pointers on how to handle the feeding frenzy after a storm please chime in. Some of these customers had 5-10 companies knock their door first day after the storm. Makes it harder to approach them after they have been battered by door knockers.

Couple more insurance questions.

  1. Will the insurance company require the customer to get 3 bids even if they have selected their contractor and signed an agreement.

  2. Will most insurance companies pay O&P if there are 3 trades. On my first claim I’m working on this storm we are replacing the roof, some window glass on 4 windows and a garage door. I will be subbing out the glass and garage door and will be handling all invoicing as a GC. The adjuster seemed to think not. Shocking I know :). If they refuse what’s the next step in pushing it through?

[quote=“noserider1234”]Couple more insurance questions.

  1. Will the insurance company require the customer to get 3 bids even if they have selected their contractor and signed an agreement.

  2. Will most insurance companies pay O&P if there are 3 trades. On my first claim I’m working on this storm we are replacing the roof, some window glass on 4 windows and a garage door. I will be subbing out the glass and garage door and will be handling all invoicing as a GC. The adjuster seemed to think not. Shocking I know :). If they refuse what’s the next step in pushing it through?[/quote]

1.) Reply ; No,once an agreement is made the need for further estimates is pointless.

How are you making your estimates ? Do you do it like you do retail or are you using an estimate program ?

As soon as the agreement is made I create an estimate using Xactimate. When I have my adjusters meeting I give the adjuster the estimate and a summary of what it takes (Materials etc) to do the job.

Honestly I have not given a retail(Residential out of pocket) estimate for several years.I only do proceed/ supplement based contracts.I will pass up the opportunity to get into the estimate pool/cut throat contracting.

2.) Reply;,., Yes you can try for OP,whether you get it or not is a different story.I usually get my OP once I inform the adjuster that my 3 trades were reached insuring my 20% OP and I will supply invoices and a W-9.Never really had a problem with it.

I know some guys who think they can get OP and count trades like a roof and a couple pieces of fascia wrap and an A/C combing or something fruit like 2 or 3 window screens ,Usually when I go for OP its a project that has a certain amount of labor required and or project complexity to justify having it contracted out,otherwise a sub or other tradesmans base charge exceeds what the replacement cost is in the first place.

If a homeowner has had 5-10 contractors/sales reps/canvassers at the door and still have not signed,then none of the 5-10 did enough to secure a contract with them.I have come in behind homeowners who had multiple door knockers say I was the only one who gained confidence with them in a very short amount of time,

IMO you have about 90 seconds or less to express yourself to spark interest and to gain enough confidence from the homeowner for you to either get on the roof or in their living room.

My technique for gaining some confidence from the homeowner has nothing to do with storm damage.

Roof Master

I agree with you about the 90 seconds. For all the insurance jobs I get on this storm I will get an Xactimate estimate to send to the adjuster. Have any of you taken out ads in the local paper right after the storm. The town is pretty small so I was thinking of ways to get my name out besides knocking. I had some yard signs around town as did everyone but I got a call from the City Code Enforcement officer to pick them up or get fined. They are also requiring a solicitor bond and permit before you can door knock. That was new to me. I’m sure there are plenty of customers still unsigned so I have my work cut out to seek them out. Any tips on ad sources right after a storm?

[quote=“noserider1234”]Roof Master

I agree with you about the 90 seconds. For all the insurance jobs I get on this storm I will get an Xactimate estimate to send to the adjuster. Have any of you taken out ads in the local paper right after the storm. The town is pretty small so I was thinking of ways to get my name out besides knocking. I had some yard signs around town as did everyone but I got a call from the City Code Enforcement officer to pick them up or get fined. They are also requiring a solicitor bond and permit before you can door knock. That was new to me. I’m sure there are plenty of customers still unsigned so I have my work cut out to seek them out. Any tips on ad sources right after a storm?[/quote]

If it’s a small town, best thing to do is burn a bunch of shoe leather and leverage referrals. If you’re not prepared already, chances are, by the time you get your stuff together, it’ll be too late. Get out there and knock doors from 9:00 AM till dusk for the next two weeks. Don’t get discouraged, just keep going after it and after it and after it. Each no means you’re getting closer to a yes. Focus on your strong points. Sounds like you’re local. That should be a huge strong point for you. Don’t try to be a fancy smancy Sales Person or something you’re not. Just knock on the door, tell them you’re a local, established, reputable roofer and would like to help them with their insurance claim if they are seeking someone honest and reliable. I assume you have referrals from Customers you’ve done in the past? If so, prepare a list of referrals and have ready to give to prospective Customers. Have it printed out. I’d try to have several different lists so you don’t burn out 4 or 5 past Customers. Local with referrals. No excuse for losing to out of towners other than giving up.

[quote=“Authentic_Dad”]

[quote=“noserider1234”]Roof Master

I agree with you about the 90 seconds. For all the insurance jobs I get on this storm I will get an Xactimate estimate to send to the adjuster. Have any of you taken out ads in the local paper right after the storm. The town is pretty small so I was thinking of ways to get my name out besides knocking. I had some yard signs around town as did everyone but I got a call from the City Code Enforcement officer to pick them up or get fined. They are also requiring a solicitor bond and permit before you can door knock. That was new to me. I’m sure there are plenty of customers still unsigned so I have my work cut out to seek them out. Any tips on ad sources right after a storm?[/quote]

If it’s a small town, best thing to do is burn a bunch of shoe leather and leverage referrals. If you’re not prepared already, chances are, by the time you get your stuff together, it’ll be too late. Get out there and knock doors from 9:00 AM till dusk for the next two weeks. Don’t get discouraged, just keep going after it and after it and after it. Each no means you’re getting closer to a yes. Focus on your strong points. Sounds like you’re local. That should be a huge strong point for you. Don’t try to be a fancy smancy Sales Person or something you’re not. Just knock on the door, tell them you’re a local, established, reputable roofer and would like to help them with their insurance claim if they are seeking someone honest and reliable. I assume you have referrals from Customers you’ve done in the past? If so, prepare a list of referrals and have ready to give to prospective Customers. Have it printed out. I’d try to have several different lists so you don’t burn out 4 or 5 past Customers. Local with referrals. No excuse for losing to out of towners other than giving up.[/quote]

Surprisingly all I have seen are local roofers. When I say local I mean with 25-50 miles. For roofers in my area that’s a normal operating range. I was not prepared as I don’t have the contingency contract you mentioned. I had a nice streak on one block where many of the neighbors will most likely be using me. I have some nice door hangers with my card stapled to it I was giving out. The reference list to hand out is a good idea. I have some great customers who are willing to help with that. I make sure all my jobs are done very professionally and although I don’t install I’m at all the jobs making sure we not only install a good product but look good while doing it. Things like organized job site and workers respecting customers and neighbors property and acting professional. On one of my customers house I’m considering installing the roof before the insurance money arives. The customer has agreed to put down a nice sum and i will carry the rest. The reason I want to do this is the neighborhood is in shambles. Roofers will be weeks and months before the work begins. I think when they see my customers roof going up so quick we will generate some attention as the can do group while others are standing around with their hands in the pockets. Maybe I’m wrong but I think it’s worth a shot. I know I’m behind the power curve but I’m still going to go after it like it’s not to late and see where it gets me. The worst that can happen is I will get a chance to practice my sales approach to be more prepared for the next opportunity.

Guys

Made some progress today on a few things you guys schooled me on. Got my new contingency/contract put together with all the proper legalese. Also spoke to the adjuster about my job and he agreed to add the O&P :smiley: . Now we’re getting somewhere. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I feel way more prepared to navigate the paths ahead.

All of the answers here are great. I just had a meeting yesterday with my guys regarding trying to get the customer signed on a contract when they inspect. That’s the difference from someone taking orders and someone selling themselves. If they trust you as a person that’s going to take care of their prized possession home… why wouldn’t they go with you?

I have several contractors that that I work with that on their contract is their fast price plus any and all supplements. This covers you both ways!!

If you are an insured client’s “Contractor of Choice” you are not a “bidder”. You are the market fair business model your client decided on to repair their property. Insurers and adjusters that try to undermine that naturally fair market dynamic, do so at the risk of being exposed of blatantly practicing anti-trust market conduct.

The sad truth is I’ve been on countless roofs with man made damage by door to door insurance restoration “specialists”. Some are so bad I have to decline the lead as I don’t want my name associated with the roof. A lot of leads that are handed to me from agents the policy holders tell me they will not allow any door to door people on their roof which in smart (At least here in Minnesota). Minnesota boasts the highest percentage of license building contractors in nations. If you are felon free you are allowed to get a license, classes will almost guarantee success of the license exam.

Back in '08 got hit with a big hail storm and there were storm chasers that had signs in 90% of homes on some blocks. 3 months later 90% of the yards had different contractor signs in the yards.

As much as I don’t like storm chasing door knockers they bring awareness to home owners. The smart home owners will then call and get references to roofers and exterior companies. I hate to say it but there are too many home owners that sign with the first salesman that comes to their door. Not saying all storm chasing door knocking companies are bad, some actually do good work.

As far as contingency contracts. Have had a handful of customers sign them over the years. It’s different when the potential customer calls you from a reference the close rate is very high. Just last week met a customer with hail damage all over their windows. The customers insurance agent told them to get a detailed estimate and pictures of the hail damage on the windows. The customer requested I do all this for them and politely asked for a contingency contract in which they declined. Long story short a good time to just walk away…

Not sure if it’s been mentioned but if you are new to insurance work don’t plan on getting paid right away. Most insurance companies write mortgage companies on the checks which means waiting for them to sign off and or deposit and make partial payments. On some big claims they will require multiple inspections which just slows everything down. Some claims I’ve worked the mortgage companies release less than the cost of materials for the roof. If you are lucky the mortgage company will release the final payment before the materials are due but most roofing crews want to get paid weekly.

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Shame on scammy “insurance specialists” and insurers/insurance adjusters for the distrust they perpetuate in a post-catastrophe market. Contractors that have integrity can be a powerful counterforce in such a market. They can alert neighbors, clients, local authorities, local media, and state regulatory authorities about fraudulent market practices.

Also - A mortgage company may release all reconstruction funds to a residential or commercial client if the insured’s equity is sufficient enough to do so, and/or if they have a good record of making mortgage payments on time.