Author: Paul Donald, CEO Encircle
The global property restoration industry is made up of some of the most talented and caring individuals. Restorers make themselves available 24/7, helping people and communities get back to normal during times of crisis. These hands-on professionals are experts in mitigation and construction, navigating the physical world better than most and using tools to accomplish what oftentimes seem like impossible tasks. With an increasing number of severe weather events and natural disasters, we need restorers now more than ever. Operational efficiency is key to helping them do what they do best -- finding the source of problems, mitigating risks, and restoring structures that have been damaged.
How can we help increase efficiency? For most restorers, like construction contractors in general, the client comes first. Administrative tasks, especially the administrative overhead that comes with doing insurance and TPA work is secondary to the job that needs to be done for the client. The challenge for restorers doing insurance and TPA work is that if the job isn’t properly documented and reported, they won’t get paid for it. Failure to establish good documentation practices leads to lower profits and even financial loss. Without a seamless flow of data from the field documentation solution to the job management system, restorers will struggle to meet the KPI requirements of TPAs and carriers.
For years, leading job management software providers have recognized this administrative challenge and promised to deliver a single solution that makes it easy to flow data from the field back to the office in a way that was easy to use for everyone. While these were great promises, many restorers were left frustrated when these solutions failed to deliver when put to the test in the real world of restoration. The software vendors weren’t able to deliver an easy to use and highly reliable mobile experience for PMs and techs to execute on good documentation practices in the field. This wasn’t for lack of money, time and effort on behalf of the software vendors, it was simply due to the complexity of building one system that meets the usability requirements of both the administrative users in the office and the tactile-oriented users on the job site.
What has been made abundantly clear over the past 5 years is that there is no one-size-fits-all software solution in the dynamic world of restoration. That is why the recent movement amongst leading vendors like Encircle, PSA, Phoenix, E3 and many others is critical to helping restorers meet the increasing administrative demands of the market they serve, run profitable businesses, while continuing to serve their clients at the same high caliber. A cooperative approach by technology vendors addresses the two main software challenges that exist today for restorers:
Suboptimal singular software solution: Settling for a suboptimal solution that doesn’t meet the requirements of different team members simply because it is “all-in-one”.
Inefficiency of multiple software solutions: Lack of automation and integration leads to entering data in several different systems, increased errors, and high administrative costs.
As a restorer have you ever asked why it’s so hard for the systems you rely on to run your business to be integrated? This is a reasonable question with no logical answer other than the desire and commitment of technology providers to make it happen. Some will hide behind the veil of security concerns, while others hide behind empty promises of future development that will finally deliver everything together in one platform.
The truth is, it’s simply not possible for one provider to deliver on all of the needs of this complex industry. It’s time to stop with the empty promises and do something truly meaningful to help restorers gain control over their business operations from field to office. I believe the software vendors who embrace an open ecosystem approach to supporting the restorer will ultimately prevail over those who are actively resisting it. Meaningful change happens one step at a time and I’m proud to be working with companies like PSA to truly serve the needs of restorers.
A restorer-first approach is the best way to deliver meaningful results across the entire property claim ecosystem. Good data starts with the restorer and when we make it easier for the restorer to capture, compile, and share the required job-related documentation to the TPA, IA, and carrier, there is trust and transparency across the board and the outcomes are better for the property owner.