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Contents Restoration Specialists are not “moving men” or “cleaning ladies” (although they have been mistaken for either or both). They are in fact elite professionals who restore instead of replace their client’s valuables - while saving massive sums for the insurance companies lucky enough to find such a team.
In past issues of Contents Solutions, you may remember having read articles about the team that restored a collection of delicate, extremely intricate figurines and Hummel Dolls that were to be “total mossed.” The adjuster knew it would cost his company $35,000 to replace these items, so when the contents team intervened and restored items to pre-loss condition, you may be sure that he started looking around for other things the pros could do for him!
And you probably remember that remarkable story about the contents team that restored a discontinued Coco Chanel “black caviar” purse that was once valued at over $4000, but now had been coated with acidic soot, drenched by fire hoses, and left in the freezing cold for 2 weeks. When it was handed to the owner in pre-loss condition, she even posed for a picture with it in her hands. The adjuster was surprised to get a bill for (drum roll please) just $69.99.
That is the sort of thing that helps improve the insurance company’s bottom line - and it was just one item! Our contents pros do this sort of thing all the time, but there isn’t a slot on Xactimate for how much we save you, so it is possible that such money-saving restoration goes unnoticed from job to job.
But contents pros save on huge jobs as well. You might remember the story we presented in which the contents team restored an estimated $4,000,000 worth of electronics from a single university building (the fire had actually melted some of the steel support beams, but the computers, monitors, etc. could still be cleaned and reconditioned).
Not every job we tell you about is one of ours, but they might as well be. Our contents force has been trained and equipped to restore most anything - one pro said, “If it’s not physically melted, we’re saving it.” And on water damage jobs we have restored everything from photo albums to antiques, from big screen TVs to cell phones, from Teddy bears to jewelry and furs, crystal, china, plastics, porcelain, wood furniture, leather couches - we routinely save extraordinary amounts of money for the insurance companies on virtually every job. But as we mentioned before, you may never have noticed it - at least not consciously.
Still, when you have an exceptional job with a healthy bottom line, it is very likely that we were there, quietly going about the business of restoring those things that truly matter to the owners and helping adjusters present invoices that impress their managers.
When an adjuster sees what we can do, it is rare that he (she) will want anyone else on the next contents job.
Contents pros help you look good to your customer. You already know about our technique in which we give a small gift at the beginning and end of each job with no literature except your business card and a note something like, “I am with you. I’m only a phone call away,” or something simple like that.
And you may remember that if we have a pivotal moment that would make you look really good to your insured, we will invite you to make the presentation of the digital photos (of pictures they thought were lost) or old, treasured Mickey Spillane novels (they thought were “gonners”). We would have you hand them over instead of us.
We can save their expensive wines (instead settling them on a hot driveway) or putting them in a box where their labels are scuffed up (reducing their worth dramatically).
We hand them a thumb drive showing where everything was packed, images from our initial walkthrough, along with storage numbers and with your permission, we tell them it is just a small gift from their agent.
In short we save their most valued belongings, give them a special experience and we make sure they know it was you who brought us to them.
That is just part of why agents reach out to us when dealing with their most discerning clients. Give us a call something and we’ll tell you more about how we can help you get renewals.
If you have been an insurance adjuster, agent or building manager for more than a few years, you may recall the days when some restoration companies claimed to be able to restore wet electronics but were terribly inept at it.
They would hose them down and dry them out, returning them in working condition, only to have the customer call them (or their agents and adjusters) complaining a couple of months later, that the computers were now malfunctioning and demanding that something be done about it.
Today’s contents pros was the mother boards with deionized/demineralized sprays that dislodge and neutralize contaminants (ordinary water leaves microscopic mineral “bridges” that are bound to lead to eventual damage).
Modern contents pros return only pristine electronics to owners and are posting an 80% to 85% success rate - and they are only charging 10% to 30% of the replacement costs, depending on the complexity of the job.
Not every contents company has such advanced tools and training - but they know who does and they keep their contact information in the “Million Dollar Database” so they can say “Yes” to electronic restoration too.
When some adjusters by-pass other contractors to hire us, it is usually with their bosses’ strong approval.
The reason is pretty simple - we are the “Yes Men” of the industry. When an insurance company’s office manager calls 5 restoration companies saying, “We have a painting that has been appraised at over $25,000. It was exposed to hot steam and now looks like the whole painting has cataracts - can any of your guys fix it?” And they all say, “No, sorry, we don’t do that sort of thing.” Then the 6th company they call is us and we say, “Sure! We are associated with one of the best art conservatories in the world,” They breathe a sigh of relief, hire us and when the art comes back in pre-loss condition, they remember us and don’t waste time and money trying to find someone else to say, “Yes.” They just by-pass everyone else and call us.
By the way, the $25,000 painting story actually happened. The conservatory restored it for $850, saving the insurance carrier over $24,000 on a single item. And guess what? The conservatory is in our “Million Dollar Data-base,” waiting for our call.
And when a moose head falls off the wall and breaks an antler, the adjusters call around trying to find a contents team who cal help and get a lot of “mp’s” until they call us. We send a cell phone image to the taxidermist in our database, she gives us a fair price in advance; we get your OK, ship it to her and have another check mark in the “win” column for us and the carrier.
We have contacts who help us restore a collection of fine china with a single plate or cup (instead of having to replace the whole set). We know where to get old mystery paperbacks to replace a waterlogged collection for pennies on the dollar.
We have antimicrobial solutions that can be used with workers still at their desks, students still in the classroom or families still in their home - so strong that they can kill MRSA, HIV, Norovirus, ect. But so human friendly that one spokesperson actually drank some just to prove he could!
We are not ordinary restoration professionals. We are specialists who get the job done. And that is why adjusters and agents by-pass those who can’t and come looking for us!
Often mothers of infants and rug-crawling toddlers are very concerned about what sorts of chemicals the contents pros will use when cleaning floors and carpets. One report from Purdue University “…found that babies crawling across carpeted surfaces stir up high levels of dirt, skin cells, bacteria, pollen, and fungal spores.” Even without water damage etc.
And when Purdue used a “sniffer robot” Cleanfax Magazine reported that, “…crawling infants inhale up to four times the amount of his bio gunk in their lungs, per kilogram of body mass, compared to what adults would breathe waling across the same carpet.”
So to put the young moms’ concerns to rest, some contents pros are now using “electrolyzed water.” Through a unique process, ordinary tap water is exposed to an electrical charge which changes it into a cleaning and disinfecting solution. Then, about 15 minutes after use it turns back into ordinary water again. Some say it is so green it’s clear!