Duration: 1hour 30 minutes
Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Time: 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM (EST)
Location:Virtually via ZOOMWho Should Attend: Owners, Managers, Account Execs, Marketing Reps, Restoration Professionals, & Contractors
Overview: For contractors who are interested OR are already delivering insurance-related restoration and reconstruction services, this webinar will give you insights and understanding into how a contractor fits into the property insurance claims process. The ability to consider different perspectives on the process that may help you develop your approaches. In addition, you will have the opportunity to learn more about and apply to become a HOMEE Pro.
Instructors:Lisa Lavender and Larry NettlesObjectives:
Gain an understanding of the overview of the insurance claims process.
Learn key terms and parties involved in claims.
Understand how a third party and a contractor fit into the process.
What does it mean to be a contractor that is helping to deliver on the promises in a policy?
Photo credit: Poike / iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images
August 7, 2023
I lost my dad unexpectedly in June 2023. He was an amazing dad, grandfather, friend, mentor, coach and much more. He left a lasting impact on everyone he encountered. He was also my editor and so if there is a comma out of place or a poorly constructed sentence, you now have insight into my going off the rails a bit. As a bonus, he would pass along overall encouragement, constructive feedback, and his least favorite topics would be tools and technical which I would respond, “Dad, restorers like it.”
I could write a book to memorialize the lessons and wisdom that he passed along to me, my family, and anyone who was simply willing to listen and learn. I knew he contributed to the business. As I reflect, my father shaped me as a human being but also in business, and I realize more now that it is completely intertwined.
Since retiring as an executive from Prudential Insurance in 2004, he joined the team, giving himself the title of Consultant and then promoting himself to Sr. Consultant. He worked for snacks and an occasional thank you sandwich. He could do anything, but he chooses to work, mentor, coach, and follow his professional passions of insurance, developing others, company culture, and operations. He developed and executed courses, human resources, coaching, articles, research, and even would help prep meals for class, anything to help. And to quote my sister, on a note that he had saved and cherished, “We could not have done it with out you!” (the building of the business)
I take the opportunity to share some of the wisdom that he has passed along that has helped me and others find joy and success.
Be responsible and take care of your things: When I was 5, he had bought me new sneakers. I had left them outside. He hid them and addressed the “situation” to make sure that I learned and understood the value of the sneakers, the importance of respecting the value, and taking care of my things. He was fun-loving, not too strict; this story was an on-going joke our entire life as I would often dramatically recount the story and tell him that it traumatized me. Which leads to…
Laugh every day: We joked and laughed every day, like the day I accused him of taking the Ding Dongs. Inspiring the value of laughter and happiness. At the Restoration Technical Institute our purpose is found in Inspiring Happiness, Pride, and Innovation in others. The value of laughter and happiness in our operations is shared in: Is Your Organization HAPPY? Which leads to…
Shared values: It was over 20 years ago that he said, “Lisa, it is time to document the company values,” which inspired my first Restoring Success article, Core and Shared Values. Which leads to…
Focus on what is important and maintain perspective: He taught us to calibrate our perspective meter and focus on things that matter in the business. In a management meeting, he wrote on the board a “Give a SH!# Meter” that I adapted to be more “professional” and wrote about in, It’s All About Perspective. Which leads to…
Tacit approval: He educated me and brought focus to the concept of tacit approval by walking into my office and garnishing my attention to the matter by holding up a piece paper with the words, TACIT APPROVAL, which inspired a New Years Resolution and my article, No More Tacit Approval. And then there is…
Understanding insurance: He coined the phrase when teaching restorers about insurance, explaining how important we are in the system, that we are “delivering on the promises in the policy.” The story of Dad teaching me about insurance and the value as a restorer is found in, Understanding the Insurance Industry. Which leads me to add…
Lead by example and embrace change:He led by example which garnished unwavering respect from others. When he fought eLearning, Zoom, and any related technology implementation, he self-assessed, came in and said, “I need to be open- minded and embrace change.” He was 72. And so, we began creating his Insurance for the Restoration Professional materials, eLearning. Which led to….
Drive safely: Another story for another time, but he was extremely passionate about safe driving, the dangers, the distractions, and was in constant motion on how he could make a positive impact in this area. He created this course, offered for free: Driving: What you need to know! By Paul Pinchak. He would always be notified when someone “bought” his free course. This made him feel fulfilled.
Be clear and concise: Let’s just say that I am a work in progress on the concise part. He would look at me and others and move his finger and say, “get to the bottom line”.
I believe he began to document a list for others to reflect and consider to help them find joy, work ethic, and fulfillment.
On his desk, was a yellow legal pad with the notes below sketched out. I know he intended to finalize, show me, and share it with others:
Be Selfless – “concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own”
Be Curious – “an eager desire to learn and, at times, to learn what may not concern you in the moment”
Be Influenced – “by the right people…we decide who we affect and who we allow to affect us”
Care – “about what you are doing…believing and committing makes a meaningful difference in one’s well being”
Be in the Right Culture – “more important than strategy…work in a culture where the values align closely with yours”
May some of dad’s wisdom that has helped me, and others, also bring you much Restoring Success.
As a restorer, once you catch the bug, the thrill of being called to action to respond, restore, and leave an impact, it is not uncommon to want to go to the next level; the Large Loss. We could consider this the Olympics of Restoration where all your technical, soft skills, and project management abilities are challenged. For those of us who are a bit of adrenaline junkies, it is a rush.
When speaking to CAT Volumes, large loss, or commercial restoration opportunities think about the Seneca quote, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunities.” In other words, as Director of Education, Chuck Boutall, would say, “You have to be ready before you can do it!”
As restorers, we often get caught up in the urgencies of the day. If we seek the opportunity to successfully respond to a large loss, we must get ready. Tom McGuire who developed and delivers his Large Loss Mastery course all over the world was inspired to get restorers ready before the call with the big one. “Learning on the job of a Large Loss will lead to disappointment and heartache. Why would you do that to yourself when you have decades of experience with some of the largest projects ever done at your fingertips?” McGuire states. His approach based on years of large loss experience is to prepare restorers to do the job right, on time and make a profit.
As we begin to consider what we need to do, consider doing a needs analysis. Evaluate your general operations, administration, in-house skills, and resources. The following is a brief list of considerations that we compiled to help you start evaluating your needs and determine if you are ready:
Knowledge and Skills: Do we know what we are doing?
Drive for Results
Technical & Management Skills
Consider the types of losses, industries, buildings, stakeholders, and the related complexities. Evaluate yourself and your team’s proficiency and seek to learn where you find gaps. Being resourceful when you have a technical expertise gap will also serve you well.
Excellent Project Management skills are an absolute. Scheduling, planning, coordination, and documentation will need to go to a new level.
Management and Administrative: From estimating to invoicing, managing resources, budgeting, and job costing, the team and systems must be ready to manage and support the complexities related to a large loss.
Equipment, Supplies, and Materials
Alliances, Partners, Subcontractors, Consultants
Finances: You are not a bank, and it is important to have the financial resources available to fund a large-scale project.
Once you have evaluated the needs and capabilities of your organization, you can focus on next steps to get the team ready. The following is a list of considerations and tips:
Self-Assess: Engage the team in a self-assessment to drill down on development and training needs. It is critical that the team has confidence in the skills and abilities necessary to effectively manage a large loss.
Training and Courses: Based on the identification of skill gaps and training needs, enroll in courses. Training and courses will give you access to experienced experts, knowledge, and certificates that validate your expertise. Large Loss Mastery has developed a series that helps fill the gaps for the key roles needed to execute.
Practice: How do you practice when you do not have the opportunity?
Start a “What would you do if”? This is best done as a group exercise.
What would you do if your local Museum had a fire?
What would you do if the Court House had a major water loss?
What would you do if the Hospital had a fire in one wing?
When you have a loss, that may be only one or two units in a Condominium or one store in a mall; play out the scenario of it being eighty units or the entire mall.
Look around any facility you step into and ask yourself what would you do to help the client recover from a catastrophic event? Fires, Floods, Mold, and Natural disasters happen all the time.
Resources: The skill of being resourceful and having the right resources when the opportunity to respond presents itself is imperative.
Internal Resources: Evaluate and train.
Existing – What do you have? Take an inventory and identify gaps.
New Resources – What other resources, relationships, and subcontractors are needed? Build and prepare your relationships and resource lists. It is good to have multiple resources per category.
Operations and Systems: Once you identified areas that need to be developed, make it happen. If you need to strengthen systems, administration, and documentation, doing so at the time of a large loss is not the time to address it. There are many details and the following article will give you some helpful tips: 8 Tips to Manage the Thousands of Details.
Finances: The billing and collections processes must be sound. Always know where the money is and who is paying, Receiving your Receivables. It is also best to evaluate your banking relationships and your cash flow needs for a large loss.
Confidence: Find confidence in your existing experiences, get training, and find experienced mentors.
When you are prepared for the moment, even if the job looks like luck to everyone else, you will know better, it was because of your dedication to having all “your ducks in a row” and being prepared for WHAT IF? HOW MUCH? AND HOW LONG? When you ask if you and your company are ready for large loss, say, “YES!” Preparation is an investment! Habit #3 of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephan Covey, Put First Things First. “Prioritize and achieve your most important goals instead of constantly reacting to urgencies.” Put that big rock in the bowl: https://youtu.be/zV3gMTOEWt8.
May getting ready for Large Loss bring you much Restoring Success.
Photo credit: eyfoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images
May 8, 2023
For nearly 23 years in the industry, I have been making lists. All kinds of lists: supply lists, task lists, inspection lists, to-do lists, lists of lists that need to be made. After all these years, I am still making lists but with new eyes, knowledge, skills, and inspiration.
Over the years, I had moments of frustration and thought, “no more lists!” I have had a few rants: “Do not make another list because I probably already made it!” I have pondered the use of lists after they were made. Some of the lists fall into the category of “they don’t work if we don’t use it.”
If you are in this industry, you likely use a list, made a list, planned to make a list, or want a list. You may have experienced some list frustration. Where does our list passion come from? I have had the opportunity to have some great collaborative conversations with some of my restoration friends, and during one conversation I was referred to the book, The Checklist Manifesto, How to Get things Right, Autl Gawande. The following book review gave me goosebumps: “An electrifying manifesto that pairs the most advanced medical science with the humblest of tools: the checklist….” Donna Seaman, Booklist. The title alone tells us where our list passion is found, “How to Get things Right.” Summary: “…Atul Gawande makes a compelling argument that we can do better, using the simplest of methods: the checklist….how they could bring about striking improvements in a variety of fields, from medicine and disaster recovery to professions and businesses of all kinds…”
Lists are widely adopted tools in many sectors and well-developed, accessible lists can be valuable job aids that help our teams succeed and improve our operational outcomes. I am always inspired by my military veteran restoration friends. Not only is their service to our country an inspiration but also the experiences, ideas and strategies from their military background being applied to restoration operations.
I asked a process-driven military veteran and restoration business owner who I admire to share his thoughts on lists. Chris Sanford, MBA, Navy Veteran Business Owner, PuroClean Disaster Restoration Services:
“I believe lists are critical to help prioritize and maximize what one can accomplish in a defined period of time. For more than 23 years in the Navy while on active duty and now in the reserves, I have kept a “wheel book,” aka notebook, by my side or on my person and each one is filled with a list of tasks for each day. I’ve broken pages up into tasks for me, emails to write, calls to make, and tasks to assign. I also use different color pens to differentiate normal vs urgent tasks. I’ve tried different digital solutions, but haven’t been able to switch over completely. Bottom line: every successful officer I have met in the military uses lists extensively to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. I also appreciate a good checklist, which is a specific type of list that can be a template used to perform a routine task without missing a step over and over, or a one-time-use checklist for a specific event or project. If you are really into lists for larger events and projects, Google “Plan of Action and Milestones (POAM),” it’s a list on steroids. . .the military loves lists! I have incorporated this into my business and encourage our staff to use both task lists, reminder lists, and checklists each and every day.”
If you have struggled to make lists to serve as job aids, you are not alone. As you read The Checklist Manifesto, you will gain valuable insight and knowledge regarding the use of lists, the expertise, and the development process. Today, I collaborate with our teams to make job aids to use in our own operations, as training tools, and for the restorers we serve. Below is a glimpse of the variety of efforts which also resulted in our internal joke of making things simple is not so simple.
Textile Sorting Chart: Took about two weeks and many iterations. After testing it, it needed to be adjusted several times.
Water Truck Inventory List: 97 items, only basic items, 3 months of perfecting the list and formatting for practical use and implementation.
Basic Water Loss – Day 1 Simple Steps: Not simple to make simple steps. Approximately 3 months, many iterations, and resulted in 17 Simple Steps, with some reminder bullets.
Why is it so hard? It is a discipline with a series of best practices. This is important because the reality is all job aids, lists, are not created equally. I dug into the archives and as a young restoration company operator, I found my documents that were meant to be job aids were wordy documents that ranged from 300- to 1,000-word, single spaced, documents. This was the source of the problem. This was not an effective approach to giving the tools to the team that I was trying to create. They would be fine in a comprehensive manual but not serve as job aids. Here are a few tips (checklist) to help you develop and/or implement lists as job aids.
Simple: Be extremely concise. It is not a replacement for training and experience. I can attest that this is a very difficult element to conquer.
Format and Approach: There are a variety of approaches from a simple checklist to a flow chart. Example: How to Train Someone is an 8-Step Flow Chart
Design: The graphic design, font, colors, and imagery should all be considered.
Test: Test your list/job aid. Your first iteration may have missed something. This is part of the development process.
Incorporate the use of the lists and company expectations in your training and development initiatives.
Accessibility: The team must have access to the lists & job aides. It may be digital, attached to assignments, paper hanging in the warehouse, truck, or placed strategically like putting a PPE Bag Inventory List on the bag itself.
Hiring outside the industry brings fresh ideas to your organization. It is a necessity for overcoming labor shortages and has many other advantages like avoiding the need to overcome bad habits that sometimes come with experience. You have a clean slate to train. So, now what?
Over the years, I have been asked the how and what of training a new person. I know everyone who has asked this question wants an easy answer like, “Send them to water restoration technician (WRT) training and then send them to ‘X’.” My answer typically involves me walking them through a simple series of questions.
Training a new person for success is not quite as simple as we may want. However, it can be simplified. When approached deliberately and applied consistently, setting up a new hire for success can be done and produce desired outcomes for both the company and employee. The first tip is that it should be a part of a developed on onboarding program. Are you on board with employee onboarding?
Next, I present the idea of a personalized learning path. In the context of the workplace, it is best defined as the “Learning Paths Methodology,” which, since 1993, has been applied as an employee training approach. It is touted as reducing time to proficiency by more than 30% in every case, across employees of diverse roles. As Learning Paths International explains, “A Learning Path is the series of learning activities that go from day one to proficiency. These activities include formal training, practice, experience and more.” The three principles of the employee training methodology include: 1) Learning as a process – not an event – extending beyond the classroom, 2) Knowing and doing are different things, 3) Training should be by design rather than by accident.
Learning paths provide a transparent and deliberate approach to the training process. At Restoration Technical Institute (RTI), the concept is a cornerstone to how we help companies with their training programs. Identifying gaps and needs helps individuals and companies achieve their goals. It is a basis for our development of curriculum so that needed resources are available and accessible. You can learn more about learning paths and other training technology at Learning Today with RTILearning.com.
Steps to Develop Personal Learning Paths for Training Success
Determine the training objective. What is the desired outcome? You can approach this a few different ways. As you build the plan, keep in mind the complexity of the path will be based on the individual, their capabilities and limitations, as well as the desired outcome. Examples:
By task: Fire structure clean, extract water
By key function: Run a water loss, schedule coordination
By job title: Project manager, lead technician
Identify skills and experiences needed to meet objectives. It will be challenging to develop an effective training path if there is no clarity regarding the skills and experiences required for the objective. In “A New Tech Under Your Wing,” one of the tips calls for the use of a training guide or matrix. The matrix will allow you and your team to consistently apply a specific set of desired skills and proficiencies. It can also be a tool for the trainee to engage and have clarity on the requirements.Be sure to capture all the training necessary: Technical skills, soft skills, computer, software, equipment, products, safety and other specific company processes, etc. A brief example for a lead technician may have these elements:
Perform the following on water losses > 5,000 square feet
Calculate equipment and layout drying plan
Map and monitor
Remove baseboard, cove base, insulation, drywall
Set up equipment
Lead and supervise a crew of up to five people
Proficiency in using company software
Ability to communicate progress, changes and meaningful information to property owners
Completed on-the-job training by successfully engaging in:
Clearly defined experiences
Use of equipment/products/other
Account for company-specific training requirements that may include but are not limited to:
Standard operating procedures
Software and systems
Formal and informal processes
Inventory the skills of the individual. An inventory of the skills and capabilities the individual has may be determined by a combination of the following: Previous job experiences, credentials/certifications/degrees, assessment testing, skillful interviewing, etc.
Determine the training and experiences required. This can be viewed as a mathematical equation: Skills needed – skills present = training needed. An example of this may be an estimator from outside the industry who came to you with experience equivalent to the skills needed in sketching a building. Sketching may be a skill required for the position of the estimator, and this was accounted for in the individual’s inventory.
Path the training and timelines. Now that we know what the training needs are, we can lay them out, correlate timelines, and facilitate a path based on the individual and the criteria established.
Celebrate and recognize the milestones along the path. A learning culture and engaging the new person on their training journey is of great importance. It encourages everyone to celebrate and support each other’s learning and growth.
Review and adjust the path, if necessary. The idea is to make this personalized for the learner while meeting all company objectives. As an example, you may have pathed a water technician to learn to extract > set equipment > monitor > basic demo. As the learner progresses, you may notice that the monitoring and math may not be the best next training step after learning to set equipment. You then adjust and change the path to basic demo.
Celebrate the outcome! Following a basic system of training in your company will help you achieve consistency and positive results.
As you develop your systems to train people from outside or inside the industry, the learning path method will bring you success. The following is a short list of some of the things needed to help you effectively and efficiently deploy:
Budget: Training is an investment in our most valued asset, our people.
Assignment of responsibility: The company must support the responsibility of managing, deploying and pathing the team’s learning initiatives.
Apprenticeship and team: Have a defined expectation and the tools to measure the outcomes of field training. Other team members should be engaged in applying a consistent and positive approach to on-the-job training.
Resources and tools: Like everything else in this industry, there is a constant evolution of technology and resources. This makes the delivery and management of training easier than ever before. According to an article in Small Business Trends, 98% of planned to use eLearning by 2020.
May using Learning Paths bring you much restoring success.