Teamwork, technology, together…

Insurance People Magazine July 2017 Edition with Superior Flood & Fire Restoration Inc.

For the team at Superior Flood & Fire Restoration, the con­ventional wisdom of doing the job the right way the first time is a way of life.

It’s been an ongoing process and team effort to perfect customer service and efficiency, which has been recognized throughout the industry by the stakehold­ers involved. Superior has received recogni­tion and numerous awards in the industry and the community followed up by many insurers expressing interest in working with Superior and adding the company to their preferred vendor lists.

“We strive to stay at the forefront of the industry by leading with innovation and developing cutting edge technology that saves time and increases efficiency to all stakeholders involved that results in mini­mized timelines, disruptions and claim payouts,” says Joseph Tolzmann, founder and CEO.

A key factor in the company’s approach is to keep all the stakeholders in synergy during the claims cycle, including insur­ance brokers, insurance companies and adjusters. “Streamlining is something that we do daily. To achieve our service goals, we utilize Xactimate software for doing estimates,” says Mayank Anand, VP, busi­ness development. “We work closely with the insurance adjusters to create the most economical scope of work required for restoring properties to pre-loss condition. The scopes are based on IICRC Resto­ration Standards to ensure the work is completed properly but also that no more work is done then necessary. This saves on replacement costs and minimizes the time required to complete the claims cycle which translates in to saving indemnity dollars. One example is on a Category 1 water loss where the walls are water damaged, they can be dried in place. This eliminates the need for incurring replacement costs and also minimizes ALE.”

Superior employs a team of highly trained and skilled full-time estimators who work on the Xactimate software to provide the most competitive estimate to the adjusters and insurance companies.

The other innovative technology that Superior uses offers avenues for open transparency in communications with all stakeholders. They capture data at differ­ent milestones as they work through the projects and make it available for adjust­ers, for complete transparency, as they need it.

Anand adds that keeping Supe­rior’s promise for quality service is paramount in everything they do.

“One of the things we pride ourselves on is superior customer service and effi­ciency. We achieve that by using the latest in technol­ogy and advanced restoration tech­niques,” explains Tolzmann. “We are focused on streamlining the workflow within our organization and also between stakeholders we work with to ensure all redundancy is eliminated.

“We use systems and procedures that helps to minimize the loss ratio and realize faster closeout of claims. The use of our scheduling methodology and engagement of a large, in-house certified and trained team of technicians results in a faster completion of the claim cycle and best quality controls. Time spent on the claim could be clients’ convenience or inconvenience which directly relates to customer service. Time is money and we strive to minimize the time and incon­venience for all stakeholders.”

Having a large in-house team means Superior doesn’t have to rely on third party subcontractors, and it gives them more control over the timeline and con­sistency in quality of a project.

“This allows us to provide superior ser­vice in every department because our en­tire staff knows what’s at stake,” Tolzmann says. “Our approach also helps reduce overhead costs which allows us to remain competitive in the marketplace while still providing Superior service.

“By using the technology and standards that we have in place, we help insur­ance companies save on those indemnity dollars,” says Anand. “Getting the job done faster is also a benefit to the in­sureds. It minimizes interruption to their daily lives or business opera­tions. The tagline we use is ‘We are the superior choice for property restoration.’”

The hallmark for excellence the company follows has been noticed. “Our reputation has attracted a lot of people that want to be part of a dynamic and rapidly growing compa­ny,” says Tolzmann. “We hire, train and coach our employees in ways that helps them keep up with the growth curve of the company. This is important because they understand our vision and policies, and the entire team takes the company to a new level.”

With locations in Vancouver, Ab­botsford, Calgary and – in the near future – Toronto, Superior Restoration has experienced solid growth during just over five years of operation.

Superior Restoration has also worked hard to establish itself in those communi­ties and with professional associations. It is one of the Platinum Star sponsors for the Women in Insurance Cancer Crusade for B.C. The company has also partici­pated in other notable charities, including Covenant House for homeless youth in Vancouver. Tolzmann raised over $20,000 in the Covenant House Sleep Out: Ex­ecutive Edition, and support came from across the industry, clients, vendors and partners.

Anand has been recognized as the Industry Contribu­tor of the year from the Professional Association of Managing Agents. Tolzmann was the recipient of the Business in Vancou­ver 2016 Top Forty under 40.

Superior Res­toration will no doubt continue to make its mark in the world of quality restoration work.

“We work intensely to create the best work­ing environment for our team and all stakeholders involved, and we are getting huge support from the top players in the industry. We don’t cut corners,” says Anand. “In doing that, we set the stand­ard for superior quality, customer service and efficiency and our clients don’t expect anything less.


This article was published in the July 2017 edition of Insurance People Magazine.

Mastering the Insurance Claims Process

Insurance People Magazine July 2016 Edition with Superior Flood & Fire Restoration Inc.

No one can control when accidents happen. The insured is not going to be happy about whatever event initiated the claims process. So how do you gain control of an accident, and ensure customer satisfaction in spite of these circumstances?
The answer is simple – a smooth claims process.
This may be easier said than done, but given the wealth of experience that Superior Restoration has had with dealing with all aspects of a claim, they have come up with a few key strategies to mitigate any potential difficulties.
A claim process involves the insured calling out their insurance company, to report a loss, who will send out a claims adjuster, and when necessary the contractor will come to the scene to mitigate and repair damages. In a typical business re- lationship there is a vendor,
and then a client. The vendor does the work, and the client pays the bill. However, in the insurance industry, things get a little more complicated, because there are so many stakeholders involved, and the insured is a mutual client. So how do you effectively handle the claims process to ensure that all stakeholders are happy and successful?


The team at Superior Restoration works hard to identify the goals of each of these stakeholders, and then examine their process in order to streamline and achieve everyone’s objectives. In addition to offering the standard restoration services at an exceptional level of workman- ship, customer service, and communication, Joe Tolzmann, president and CEO of Superior, actively works on improving the insurance claims process – “Each of 
the stakeholders has their different point of view and objective but we all have one thing in common and that is client retention and further business growth which requires good client care and fulfilling our obligations.”
Some of these measures include minimizing disruption, timelines, and payouts.

“By following the IICRC Water Damage Restoration Standard, setting up equipment based on formulas, using a standardized pricing system with Xactimate software, and tracking and communicating all details of a project through thorough reporting measures, we can ensure that we are efficient, competitively priced, meeting KPI’s for all parties involved, and delivering superior service.”
In addition, Tolzmann explains, that each party involved will expect a different level of reporting, and notifications. “For example, we collect data as the project develops and have reports available in real-time.”
Despite having a refined claims process, disasters can manifest in a plethora of ways, and the key to success is to have a strategy for being able to handle all types of claims. The Fort McMurray wildfires serve as a hallow reminder that the claims process needs to be balanced between responsiveness, flexibility, and measurable structure in order to accommodate all types of emergencies.
Superior strikes that balance in its quest to strengthen stakeholder relationships, whether it requires large loss mobilization or a single unit claim.
Only a few weeks ago Superior worked on a claim that spanned 54 units in a 32 floor high-rise. Based on the extent of the damage, a claim such as this one would have typically take months to close, but Superior man- aged to do just that in two. By implementing the strategies discussed to streamline the claims process they were able to start the mitigation process within an hour, effectively handle mitigation services within two weeks, and finish all repair work in the 54 affected units in four weeks including betterments and contents for individual unit owners not covered under strata/ condo insurance. The project is a tangi- ble result of Superior’s serious efforts to develop and embody a smooth claims process, ensuring quick a closeout.


Tolzmann emphasizes, “We have learned how to make everyone happy. It’s simple. It is about finding the middle ground, integrity, and to do what’s right; follow the standard, itemize the work necessary to restore property to pre-loss condition, and price out the work fairly.”


You can reach out to Superior in order to find out more about how they can customize the process for your claims department in order to foster the closeout for condos, commercial properties or large losses.


This article was published in the July 2016 edition of Insurance People Magazine.

 

How to prevent water damage in your home

Download our printable ‘How to Prevent Water Damage’ pamphlet

Here are a few small things you can do to minimize the risk of water damage.

Tips & Tricks

  • Check periodically for small leaks. Checking for small leaks, can prevent you from dealing with the culminating effect of a large leak in some cases.
  • Invest in braided hoses. A braided hose that attaches to appliances will remain flexible and be more secure than other types.
  • Know where and how to turn off your water. By orientating yourself with your surroundings, you will be able to prevent more water damage than necessary from unexpected events.
  • Check for faulty appliances. Certain older appliances may have faced reoccurring problems, and a quick internet search for reviews may help you prevent future problems, or be more aware of what problems others have faced. For example, Crane toilets manufactured between 1980 and 1991 with the eight-digit serial number starting with a ‘V’ and the third and fourth digits between 80 and 91 should probably be replaced.
  • Store valuable items in waterproof containers. If you store things such as photos or memorabilia in your basement, consider investing in heavy duty plastic bins.
  • Keep your insurance policy up to date. In order to make sure you will be properly compensated, make sure you have a policy that will cover you, especially if you’ve undergone major renovations recently.
  • Get a double check from a plumber. If you are already getting work done, why not get the plumber to just check out your other appliances too?

Water Damage Dos and Don’ts

When you do come across a leak or flood what you do in the next 24 hours is crucial. If you don’t act fast, you can face major damage in your home or business. Here is a quick list of some important do’s and don’ts.

Do

  • Determine the source and if possible try to stop it or call a professional to stop it
  • Turn off the main water supply
  • Turn off electrical appliances
  • Mop or blot as much of the excess water
  • Prop items (such as wet-cushions) to prevent the spread of water
  • Remove items from the area that could be damaged by the water, and try to empty the floors as much as possible
  • Wipe off wood furniture
  • Use saucers under furniture legs if carpet is wet
  • Move artwork off walls to a dry area
  • Call your insurance provider as soon as possible
  • Call our 24/7 Emergency help line for assistance

Don’t

  • Pull-up carpet and pad
  • Touch electrical appliances if they are wet
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures, or stay near sagging ceilings
  • Leave books or anything with soluble dyes on wet carpets
  • Turn up the heat above normal room temperature
  • Attempt to dry carpeting with an electric heater
  • Move anything around of your water is grey or black (it has been contaminated, and your risk spreading the contamination around).

Emergency Preparedness for Landlords

In recent years the number of natural and geophysical disasters has been increasing. The Borgen Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing poverty, hunger, and world issues, reported that in 1970 the average of natural disasters that were reported was 78. In 2004, this number jumped to 348; moreover, according to AccuWeather, since 1990, natural disasters have affected 217 million people every single year (Borgenproject.org 2015, Accuweather.com 2013).

Disaster Frequency Since 1950 courtesy of EM_DAT International Database, Center for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters, University of Louvain.
Disaster Frequency Since 1950 courtesy of EM_DAT International Database, Center for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters, University of Louvain.

In BC particularly, earthquakes remain an imminent threat as the province is situated on the Juan de Fuca fault line that is moving eastward under the North American plate. It is hard to predict when the inevitable major earthquake will hit, but by taking the necessary precautions to ensure that all buildings and people are equipped to handle unexpected emergencies, there is less to fear.
In addition to earthquakes, BC has faced an increase in windstorms, such last August’s, leading to the largest BC Hydro power outage in history (CBC Sept. 2015), and rainstorms, such as in last November, which lead to the closing of highways due to mudslides and flooding (CBC Nov. 2015).

BC Hydro’s Tweet: ‘Difficult Situations Crews Are Dealing with During Restoration.” Courtesy of BC Hydro/Twitter.
BC Hydro’s Tweet: ‘Difficult Situations Crews Are Dealing with During Restoration.” Courtesy of BC Hydro/Twitter.

How do we prepare ourselves accordingly in order to mitigate the affect of these surprise events?
The first step is to prepare an emergency plan so that every member of your household, co-op, commercial and residential buildings understand what to do if there is an earthquake or disaster. In addition to planning your course of action, some buildings and associations delegate certain tasks to certain people. Just as an office building may have a fire warden for each floor, so can landlords assign someone emergency duties such as first aid, or stewardship over a group of people.

In addition to planning for who would be involved in emergency response, we can plan how we can between respond to emergencies. While in the planning stage, we can proactively check our resources as well. Do we have emergency backup systems such as diesel generators, potable water supplies, or a landline phone?
By thinking ahead, both major and minor disasters can be resolved seamlessly. For example, the Globe and Mail highlighted the landlord’s preparedness planning of Cadillac Fairview in Toronto when in January 2005 a transformer blew leading to complete darkness, and pipes that froze and burst. Because of their meticulous emergency plan, the issues faced were considerably mitigated; moreover, they reported, “We had people from the executive vice-president level down on the site within minutes,” he said. “They worked from 7 a.m. to midnight to secure the property, minimize damage and restore power” (Globe and Mail 2005).
Another key tip to increasing your emergency plan is to know the disaster response routes in your area. These transportation routes can only be accessed by emergency vehicles during a disaster, and also will help responders to get to those who need help the quickest. To find out more about the disaster routes in your area you can check out the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure website.

Disaster Response Routes Throughout the Lower Mainland. Courtesy of BC Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, and the City of Vancouver.
Disaster Response Routes Throughout the Lower Mainland. Courtesy of BC Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, and the City of Vancouver.

Another resource that can prove invaluable to landlords wishing to brush up on their emergency preparedness knowledge is to attend free workshops provided by municipalities. In addition to providing general emergency preparedness workshops, the City of Vancouver will offer customized free emergency safety workshops tailored for whatever particular problems you think you may face (See City of Vancouver 2016). This ensures that all types of properties will be prepared for any unwarranted events.

Lastly, a key, but often overlooked step to emergency preparedness is existing organization and self reliance. In order for your property to effectively manage any emergencies that may come its way, you must make sure that everything is operating smoothly under non-emergency environments first. Emergency preparedness is developed on the principle of proactive planning, so getting all affairs in order is a pre-requisite.

As an extension, self-reliance, and personal emergency preparedness will help you to better serve others in the case of an event. This can be done by keeping and maintaining a 72-hour kit, a food storage, and all other precautions listed previously.
By preparing ourselves and our properties for emergencies we can mitigate the major effects of natural disasters, and also rest assured that we can handle any situation that comes our way.

References

AccuWeather.com. November 15, 2013. Steady Increase in Climate Related Natural Disasters.
Borgenproject.org. June 2015. Are Natural Disasters Increasing? See: http://borgenproject.org/natural-disasters-increasing/
CBC.ca November 27, 2015. Rainstorm closes B.C. highways. See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/rainstorm-closes-b-c-highways-1.1112857
CBC.ca. September 1, 2015. B.C storm: ‘Largest outage event in BC Hydro history. See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-storm-hydro-1.3210919
CBC.ca. January 20, 2015. Megathrust earthquake off B.C coast extremely likely, but might not strike for centuries. See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/megathrust-earthquake-off-b-c-coast-extremely-likely-but-might-not-strike-for-centuries-1.2917937
City of Vancouver. 2016. Free Emergency Planning Workshops. See: http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/free-emergency-workshops.aspx
Globe and Mail. July, 2005. Landlords prepare for any emergency. See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/landlords-prepare-for-any-emergency/article18240612/

 

Consumer’s Choice for Flood & Fire Restoration

Superior Flood and Fire Restoration Inc. is a company that prides itself on outstanding customer service. They won the Consumer Choice Award for Business Excellence in the flood and fire restoration category in Vancouver for 2016.

In only four years Superior has become one of the premier restoration companies in Western Canada with branches in Vancouver, Abbotsford, Calgary and Ontario coming soon.

Company President Joe Tolzmann attributes the company’s success and growth to their high quality control standards and Superior’s highly trained technicians, who are among the best in the business. Tolzmann says the company has a proven track record and “compromising the quality of our service to meet profit targets is not an option for us. The only way for us to survive and prosper is to increase efficiency and we’ve done that.”

“We’ve created a results based working environment that nurtures, attracts and retains the best talent.” Superior has a qualified and diversified team willing and capable to meet and resolve any challenge. Tolzmann says the company employs the best in technology and advanced techniques to keep it at the forefront of the restoration business.

“Among our technological tools is a thermal imaging camera. This allows us to minimize disruption on the job site, to minimize the damage and the costs automatically. We make sure the job is done right and nothing is left behind. Another example is injecti-dry flooring system where we dry out floors without replacing them. That also shortens the length of time we spend on site. And it saves huge on replacement costs and on contents pack-out time.”

The company also uses the Xactimate system which streamlines claims estimating to achieve greater speed and accuracy in claims handling.

Superior follows a model of clear and open communication with all stakeholders using real time data to prevent unnecessary calls to brokers and adjusters from the insureds.

“We continually follow industry trends and work closely with our stakeholders to identify the changes and customize our processes to their requirements.” Tolzmann says “We have also developed individual custom streamlined processes for different segments; from more complex Condo/Strata claims with multiple unit owners involving additional stakeholders for each of their own betterments and contents all in addition to the original as build insured under Condo/Strata policies; to commercial shopping malls, hotels, institutional and industrial buildings with improvements and contents separate from original structures; to less complex single family dwellings.”

Mayank Anand, VP of Business Development, says we built a brand known for superior service.’ Superior stays ahead of the curve through cost reduction, tighter controls, performance and efficiency; which are key in adapting to the changing dynamics of the insurance industry. “For us customer service is not just another term, it is our belief, culture and purpose as to why we are in this business. It’s always about doing the right thing” says Anand.

“We keep everyone informed about the latest trends by providing training seminars. This ensures that brokers, insurers & adjusters are comfortable with the terminologies and appropriate service standards used in the restoration industry. We work towards getting everyone on the same page.”

Ken Hwang, Superior’s VP of Operations, says the company goal is to restore peoples’ homes and businesses to a pre-loss state with the least amount of disruption and to ensure costs are kept to a minimum.

“We work hard on developing and streamlining the process to improve the operational efficiency and to collect data along the way in order to have it instantly available for our stakeholders. Our team is continuously working on improving our processes and keeping up to date with the often changing requirements of our clients.”

Superior emphasizes consistency and all their technicians in each city are trained to maintain the highest quality control standards. This ensures our clients always receive the same Superior service whether we work on a water loss in a condo high rise in Vancouver or a fire loss in an institution in Calgary.

“It is rewarding and motivating to see at the end of each claim, that the insured is grateful for our help and the brokers, adjusters and insurers repeatedly increasing our workload allowing us to continue to grow.” says Hwang.

*This article was featured in Insurance People Magazine*