However, an insurance restoration company like us, if they’re a proper insurance restoration company, what we call in the industry, the ten percenters, they will have gone for HAAG training. HAAG is an engineering company that trains inspectors to go out and find this type of damage, determine if the damage is severe enough to warrant further investigation or replacement. In addition, IICRC certified, which is the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification.
So when we go out to the home, we’re looking at it from a scientific standpoint. We not only determine when the damage happened, we determine the exact type of damage, the size of the damage, the directionality of the damage. We work directly with meteorologists. We have our own insurance adjusters in house, our own public adjusters and our inspectors who are trained in the flow of water and how water damages homes, how it flows and where it hides. And we have the equipment to mitigate water damage to a home.
The insurance restoration company is basically the whole package. We’re not only the inspector, we’re not only the person doing the work, but we’re the homeowner’s advocate. We’re the all in one encompassing unit that the homeowner can rest assured that we’re not only going to detect a problem, but we’re also going to be sure it’s repaired properly, and we’re going to be sure that they’re safe and healthy in their home for years to come.
Markus: Absolutely. You’re almost like a specialized doctor. If you have a major, specific issue that requires specialized care, like hail damage, you don’t go to a general practitioner, you go to the specialist that handles that. So you’re like the specialized doctors for roofs and siding and so forth which is fantastic. And you’re acting as their advocate as well. You’re fighting for their rights.
Steve: Yeah, I absolutely am. If you think about if you have this damage and it’s leaked into your home, and you have damage to your exterior walls, you have damage to your windows, and if you go through a general contractor, he’s going to get roofer out, he’s going to get a siding guy out, and then the painter and the drywaller out, and they’re all going to deal with these issues. So for example, if there’s a stain on your ceiling, the water had to come through the roof, through the felt, through the decking, the sheathing, down in through the insulation, and it had to soak through the drywall and then create a stain.
A regular general contractor would approach it from the standpoint, “Well, let’s go ahead and put a couple of coats of primer, or KILZ, which is meant to kill stains, and then we’ll put a coat of paint over it.” However if the water is left untreated and not dried properly, or the insulation’s not replaced or the drywall’s not replaced, then over time, that’s going to turn into mold, and mold is not good. But a general contractor is only going to repair the damage that they see. They don’t even think about the ramifications of really where the water came from, where it traveled from, how to deal with the drying of it or cutting out and replacing the areas that are necessary. Not to mention then taking care of the causation of where that damage came from in the first place.
So unlike a general contractor, or just a roofer or just a siding guy, it’s so important to use somebody that’s trained and certified and has a continuing education program to take care of these problematic areas. And our storms are getting worse, they’re not getting better. So to use an experienced insurance restoration company like ours is really the way to go.
Markus: Absolutely. What do you feel is the biggest myth out there when it comes to insurance restoration companies?
Steve: Glad you asked that. So there are storm chasers, and we get labeled as storm chasers all the time. However, we’re a local, licensed, bonded contracting company that has gone the extra mile to name and train ourselves as an insurance restoration company. And we’re here and local. We live in the area, we raise our families in the area and we have a vested interest in the Chicagoland area. We’re not going anywhere.
Although a lot of what we do carries manufacturers’ warranties, there’s a workmanship aspect as well. You want to have somebody that you can find or call down the road, not just storm chasers. The truth is they fly into an area because there was a major storm, and their business model is to make as much money as possible off of that storm. So they’re not going to become a GAF home certified builder like we are who tend to offer the best warranties.
They’re going to use the cheapest materials, they’re going to use the laborers that are really the ones that aren’t currently working, they’re looking to get a job, and their work is usually subpar. I’m sure there are some storm chaser companies that care a little more, but they’re not the ones invested in the community and they’re not the ones who are here for the long haul. So when the storm’s gone, they’re no longer around to stand behind their work, be here when you have the small leak, be here when the water heater breaks and you need the water cleaned up and your house dried properly, be here when the sewer backs up, be here when your roof is old and needs to be replaced or is aging or just needs a minor repair. I think that’s a big difference.
Markus: That makes a lot of sense. So, what would you say are some of the misconceptions that homeowners have about insurance restoration or the insurance restoration industry in general?
Steve: Put in plain English, they just feel like if the deal’s too good, it’s too good to be true. If I knocked on your door and said, “Hey, Markus, my name is Steve. You don’t know me from anywhere. However, our technology shows that you probably have this type of damage and your insurance is responsible for replacing your roof, and that would happen at no charge,” I think your first instinct is, “Well, first of all, why is this person knocking on my door? Second of all, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” So they tend to want to shy away from it.