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Capturing field data: would your job reports pass an audit?

The restoration industry has always been unique. Your business is restoring people’s lives and properties, but often, the insurance coverage dollars that are paid out to property owners are what keep the restoration industry running.

Admittedly, there are many ways to play the game. The restorers who are going to excel and take advantage of the opportunity this industry offers, are the ones who know who controls the money and what their goals are. The truth is, regardless of whether you are on program work or not, the money still mostly flows from the insurance company to the property owner.

Insurance companies are established financial institutions that manage risk, and the claims departments are the necessary mechanisms used to distribute funds. Similar to finance, the insurance industry is highly-regulated, requiring detailed and accurate reporting in order to manage a huge volume of financial transactions, financial liabilities and balance enormous risk. Working with inaccurate and incomplete field data is a huge drain on their resources and significantly increases their risk, so naturally they don’t like it. Their success depends on the quality and completeness of the information they receive.

Similar to an accountant who wouldn’t help you avoid paying taxes without supporting documentation, insurers can’t pay your invoice without sufficient evidence that would stand up to an audit.

From a restorer’s perspective, is your invoice fully justified? Do you have sufficient proof of the scope of work you did? Would there be additional questions needing to be answered that could throw a wrench in the works?

Not only are insurers relying on the data you provide to settle claims, they’re also using it for predictive analytics, forecasting and reserving funds. In other words, data accuracy is key.

Though it feels as if you’re not being paid to do that level of documenting, when your documentation passes their audit test, you’ll get paid faster and in full, avoiding the stress of being scrubbed due to lack of information, lack of supporting evidence, reasoning, or numbers not adding up. I believe that most restorers would be shocked at how much of an impact focusing on the accuracy and completeness of reports could have on their profits. Having more accurate reports drives greater operational efficiency which again, will lead to increased profits.

So how can you improve the accuracy of the data you’re submitting?

It’s actually quite simple: shift from being on the defensive to the offensive.

First, you need to look at where your data originates, and then assess the tools you and your team are using to capture it. For restorers, your data originates mostly from the field—on the job site is where you make or lose money. To fully justify your work, it’s important for you to include verifiable timestamps and visual evidence. This leaves no room for questioning or doubt. For you to achieve this level of in-disputability, your PM’s and technicians need a documentation tool that easily records critical job information, as they work, without requiring hours of training.

If the technology you implement isn’t making life easier or more efficient, what’s the point?

Encircle is the only company that has an all-in-one Field Documentation Solution (FDS), designed specifically for the hands-on technicians and PMs, so they can embrace the documentation process and capture data that stands up to any scrutiny.

Most people in this industry are proud of the work they do in the field—an effective FDS will help them improve their work quality and do the heavy lifting of reporting on the work they did. It will help them show their work off to office administrators and ultimately demonstrate to the reviewer that the work was done right, so you’ll get paid faster and at a higher percentage of your invoice amount.

Recently, I had meetings with some TPA’s and carriers as we were introducing Encircle’s new Hydro workflow. They were discussing how data that verified that the field work was done correctly, collected in a more accurate manner, would speed up their review process. If contractors had a better way to gather and submit more detailed information to them, the entire process could be easily streamlined.

Long story short, the opportunities exist regardless of whether you serve the program work of a carrier or TPA or if you choose to keep your business independent of those streams. The only question is, do you understand the power that proper data acquisition in the field can generate for your business’ bottomline? Implementing Encircle’s Field Documentation Solution into your business unlocks the ability to efficiently capture field data and generate detailed reports in just minutes, and get you paid quicker.

Take control of your business, take control of your financial freedom, and learn how small changes to your processes can result in major success.

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