TIM BRUFFEY is the VP of Innovation for Accurence, Inc., a Colorado-based technology provider with inspection and scope automation solutions for insurers and contractors. Tim is an industrial engineer and inventor with 25 years of solution oriented IT expertise for the property and casualty insurance and construction industry. Previous work includes plant QA manager for GM’s Cadillac brand, founder of MonitorBot™ – a remote moisture monitoring system for mitigation vendors (merged into Accurence in 2008), and operator of a ServiceMaster franchise for more than 15 years. At Accurence he works with insurance carriers to innovate their claims workflows and aids contractors in system implementations that generate consistency and scalability.
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Question: You were a contractor for 20 years before coming to Accurence; why did you make that move?
Tim Bruffey: In my days as a contractor, I recognized an opportunity for improvement inherent in the inconsistencies in roof damage inspections and repair estimates. Two adjusters from the same insurance carrier might have different understandings of company guidelines; it was very confusing and had the potential to negatively impact my profitability when one accepted a certain line-item and the other didn’t. Even worse was when the same adjuster had different answers on different days – there was no way to predict what my profitability was going to be. Now layer on top of that the inconsistency and inaccuracies of my own estimators and salespeople who might omit items that we later found during the review process. Addressing these problems was one of my primary goals when I started working with some colleagues to build a technology-based solution.
For those that don’t know, what are claim management workflows?
Claim management workflows describe how an insurance carrier goes through the process of settling an insurance claim. Traditionally, it involved a policyholder calling up their agent after an event and reporting a loss. The carrier would typically respond by sending out an adjuster to document the damage and then prepare an estimated cost to repair the damage.
Is the traditional claim management workflow still valid?
The entire process is evolving. The average independent adjuster today is 59 years old. These adjusters are retiring and there’s been a general lack of recruitment by insurance companies to backfill the positions. The need for their services hasn’t disappeared, though, so carriers are having to find ways to fill the gap and are experimenting with new workflows. One of those is an inside/outside model that employs an inspector who is not an adjuster who goes out to document the damage – that’s the outside person; they pass along the information to an inside person, a worker at a desk who reviews the damage report and actually writes the estimate.
Emerging technology-fueled processes drive this new system.
That’s a big change; how do you think this will affect the future of roofing restoration?
One of the biggest impacts is that traditionally we would meet the insurance adjuster onsite. We would review the damages and maybe even negotiate a little bit on the scope and the final estimate. Well, that’s going to be really different if you’re working with a desk adjuster and the person you meet onsite isn’t the one making decisions. So as a contractor, you need to figure out how to communicate with this desk adjuster when you never get to meet them face-to-face – you only get to talk to them on the phone. How do you present a professional package to them when all they see of you is what you deliver to them? Having a well-written estimate with good documentation and good photos with good captions will go a long way toward setting you apart and help you later on if you need to negotiate at some point about what’s being done on that property.
With the inside/outside model, what can a roofing contractor do to stay ahead of the curve?
Having information is generally the best way to prepare yourself. Just listening to this podcast and knowing that these changes are going to be coming – if they haven’t already – is helpful. The solution we’ve created at Accurence helps you write a consistent estimate every time so you don’t have to worry about your estimators missing things. Using our technology, you can do a better job presenting that package – a complete, thorough estimate with good photo documentation and clear captions.
In an inside/outside model, you’re relying on an inspector to show the adjuster what’s actually there on the property. Well, you as a contractor, you actually do the work. Who knows better about what needs to be done than somebody who is actually going to do the work? If I care more about it, I’m going to be more thorough. So using our tool helps you capture why you’re saying what you’re saying. It’s error-correcting on both the inspector side and contractor side so that you can present a package that’s consistent and accurate.
Thanks for talking with to us today. We appreciate it.Click here to download the full transcript