As a restoration contractor, you likely meet many clients following incredibly stressful life events, such as in the aftermath of a natural catastrophe. A client who has just seen their home or business damaged by a flood is in a very vulnerable position.
Sadly, natural hazards are a fact of life in much of the world. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that in 2020, 22 weather or climate-related disasters each resulted in at least $1 billion in damages, and overall natural catastrophes resulted in $89 billion in insurance payouts for the same period.
You play an important role in walking clients through an incredibly difficult time and helping them get their homes, families, and businesses back on track. That includes receipt of the fair compensation for which they are entitled.
Inspections and reports can be tedious and time-consuming, but if you don’t provide thorough job documentation about your process, you may jeopardize your clients’ insurance payouts. This can imperil their safety and cause financial problems for you as a contractor. These issues can be avoided with thorough, well-organized catastrophe (CAT) reporting.
Here’s what you need to know in order to make this process as easy (and accurate) as possible.
What restoration contractors must include in a CAT report
As a professional restorer, when it comes to CAT reporting, you are responsible for explaining the who, what, where, when, and why. It may seem obvious to you why something needs to be restored, but insurance companies will want justification for your actions. Here’s what you should include to explain the “why”:
- Safety considerations, identify safety issues and manage them.
- Health concerns, such as infection, toxic conditions, , that will be prevented by your work
- Timing issues, such as if damage to a structure will escalate or deteriorate if you don’t take immediate action
- Why inaction must be avoided, and could become a financial liability for the property, town or city
- Potential savings, or why the restoration process will ultimately save money for the insurance company, such as by preventing future structural damage, water infiltration, injuries, or illnesses
Use all available tools to tell the story
As a restoration contractor, one of your most important reporting tasks is to not only include the required elements, but also tell the story of the catastrophe in the most compelling manner so that all of your decisions and actions stand up to scrutiny. To do this, use every tool and method at your disposal, including:
- Thorough written descriptions
- Photos and videos, including high-resolution photos from different angles and distances
- Research, measurements, or science to support statistics or figures
How to create CAT reports with an easy-to-read format
To justify estimates and invoices, you need to both include all of the necessary information and package it in an organized, reader-friendly format. Here’s what you need to include in a report that will answer all necessary questions in a clear, direct manner.
Creating easy to read CAT reports starts with your cover page, which should include:
- Company name, logo, address, phone number, and email
- Claim ID and date
- Policyholder information, including name, policy number, phone number, and email
- Insurance company information, such as the name of the company, adjuster, broker, or agent
The rest of the report should be organized in easy-to-follow sections, including:
- Photos, videos, and notes
- Pre-existing circumstances and the cause of the loss
- The scope of the job
- A moisture summary
- Schedule of loss
Don’t jeopardize critical insurance payouts: document, report, and deliver
Making sure that your CAT reports are accurate, detailed and clear can feel like a lot of work, without even starting the actual restoration tasks. Inaccurate reporting can come with big costs to you and your client, creating confusion and disagreements. Fortunately, there is help available.
Encircle is a field documentation solution that makes it easier to create and share detailed reports and speeds up claims with documentation that meets and exceeds the insurance industry’s strict reporting requirements. Our solution is trusted by restoration contractors, insurance companies, and independent adjusters.