What do large insurance carriers, small mutual carriers, medium-sized adjusting firms, behemoth restoration firms, and sole proprietor roofing companies all have in common?
THEY ALL HEAVILY RELY ON PROPERTY INSPECTIONS TO INFORM THEIR BUSINESS DECISIONS.
Wouldn’t it be great if your company had a way to guarantee quality inspections, even from inexperienced personnel?
A brief history of inspections:
- 1950 – Inspections were documented using pencil and graph paper.
- 1984 – Pencil/graph paper + Polaroid camera.
- 2014 – Pencil/graph paper + digital camera.
Recent surveys by Spex show that more than 90% of adjusters still handwrite their inspection scope notes.
“As a field manager, I’m often required to assist adjusters in writing their estimates, sometimes several days after the adjuster completes the initial inspection. Over and over again, I find that adjusters can’t remember the important details required to write an accurate estimate and/or they simply can’t read their own handwriting on the scope notes.” – Ed Scheffler (25-year insurance professional)
With the growing trend in our industry to use centralized claim handling centers, the need for better and more organized inspection information has never been greater. More often than not, desk adjusters are left with little to no inspection documentation to assist with claim reconciliation. The lack of quality inspection data not only means call-center employees can’t correct an estimate or address a denial, but moreover they’re left with no choice but to request a second field inspection. Contractors are also forced to deal with the problem of subsequent inspections, whether by their own doing or as a result of being involved in the claims process.
“The whole claim process was a nightmare. It took three different inspections and two months just to get an initial estimate for our hail damage. The number of phone calls and amount of coordination required to get my contractors and insurance company on the same page was unbelievable.” – Sally Straton (Homeowner, Denver Hailstorm 2014)
The Cure: Focus on the inspection scope, not the estimate
“Scope for Scope” is a term that’s heavily used in the industry. We were able to find adjusters who remember using the terminology as far back as the 1960’s. The concept is pretty simple: the insurance company’s scope of loss should match the contractor’s scope of work. At Spex, we’re big believers in “Scope for Scope.” We also believe that ideally an agreement on scope should precede an estimate.
Estimating software is designed to provide an average price for a generalized item, not to describe what actually exists. Inspection software is less concerned with price and more concerned with capturing reality; it answers the question, “what is the real item and its specifications?” If you’re confused, use the Home Depot test. Would the orange-apron guy look at you funny if you asked for a “high grade window, 14 - 20 sqare feet size?” What about a “Pella, cherry wood, casement window, 2’x6’, w/ double-pane glazing?” Inspection software passes the Home Depot test—estimating software does not.
Now if you’re an insurance adjuster trying to match your scope up with a contractor or vice versa, wouldn’t it be much easier if you both could look at the same item and agree that it’s a “Pella, cherry wood, casement window, 2’x6’, w/ double-pane glazing?” Furthermore, wouldn’t it also be much easier for the desk adjuster in the call-center to reconcile a window estimate knowing that the window was a “cherry, Pella window?” Might the homeowner also have a little more confidence in their adjuster identifying items as they exist in reality and not in a program?
The SpexReport® is the industry’s first viable replacement for the pencil / graph-paper / digital camera.
The SpexReport® has all of the information an adjuster needs, as well as all the information that a contractor needs. There is no better way to eliminate subsequent inspections than to utilize inspection software. Spex Reports allow the adjuster, contractor, and homeowner to get on the same page regardless of who actually conducted the inspection. Consolidating and organizing inspection photos, videos, diagrams, building material descriptions, and the proposed course of action into one clean and professional document is the key to making “Scope for Scope” an efficient process.
To sum it up: Your life will be easier if you first inspect, collaborate, and agree on scope—then estimate!
For more information, please visit https://spexreport.com
Co-Founder of Spex