Wolgast Restoration Blog Page

Cory Sursely

Recent Posts

On-Site Precautions Make Wolgast Restoration Sites Safer and Completion Dates Quicker

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Jul 15, 2019 @ 02:57 PM

Safety-Director-1Properties that have been impacted by a fire, flood or other related weather loss, pose extra safety cautions.  Wolgast considers it as important, if not more, than you do to keep everyone who enters the site safe.  Property Owners, agents, workers, friends and neighbors may come and go during a restoration project, so explicit communication, signage, teamwork, proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and sometimes sanitization stations need to be available to protect site occupants.  Wolgast Restoration factors this into our project planning.

On any given site, we need to be prepared for a variety of issues that are associated with a loss, such as structural issues, airborne or water contaminants, sharp metal or exposed electrical wires to name a few.  Once restoration activity starts, there are additional safety impacts to prevent involving elevated spaces, trip hazards, construction equipment and tools, etc.  Our Field Employee-Owners have been OSHA Safety Certified as well as IICRC Certified.  Additionally, we have a safety incentive program whereby the monetary pool is funded by completing safety behavior and practices that our Safety Committee has determined will result in increased protection for all.  Daily safety planning, meetings, communication, documentation are among these actions.  The better the safety behaviors, the better the safety culture and the bigger the pool of money.  The money is used to supply staff members with gift certificates for steel toed boots, coats and gloves of their choosing that further protect them from elements on a construction site.

The point of this blog is that you won’t have to worry about further issues on your customer’s property when any loss already creates high stress.  And that is important when choosing a Restoration Company.  Additionally, being safe speeds up the restoration process, which is good for all of us.

Topics: prevention

Top Credentials to Help Provide Risk Management for Property Restoration

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Apr 08, 2019 @ 08:01 AM

RestorationSoda-BlastingFor insurance carriers and building owners alike, risk management should be a coveted aspect of their relationship with an insurance restoration company.  There are several means that successful restoration companies contribute to risk management on a project and those are a combination of experience, great customer service, resources, wide coverage area and training/certifications.

The more credentials a restoration company and its employees have, the higher the probability that they’ll do the job right the first time, and therefore minimize risk.  By following IICRC protocol, damage gets stopped quicker, materials get cleaned to the level needed to stop further damage, and expectations are met.

Wolgast is an IICRC firm with employee-owner, staff members that have a variety of certifications pertaining to their area of expertise.  We have obtained these top credentials to be recognized by Third Party Administrators (TPAs) as an expert in microbial, fire, smoke, and water remediation since insurance carriers rely on the TPAs to provide a qualified insurance restoration company to fulfill whatever is their present need.  We actively train to be prepared for each project that a TPA deems is a fit for us so that we can minimize risk, and create a positive experience and rating within each system.  That is very important because it’s expected of us and effects future opportunities, so we complete our continuing education and have sought out additional training opportunities for our staff. 

We’re dedicated to being at the top of TPAs’ lists with a good track record, vast resources, wide market area, great customer service and the appropriate training.  Therefore, our credentials include: Certified Subrogation Recovery Professionals, IICRC Certified, HAAG Certified and Residential Roof Inspector, Water Damage Restoration Technician, Applied Structural Drying Technician, Applied Microbial Remediation Technician, Fire & Smoke Restoration Technician, Contents Processing Technician, Commercial Drying Specialists, and many others that involve flooring, textiles, and trauma situations.  Furthermore, we’re backed by a 70+ year, licensed and insured construction company to rebuild a structure if needed and be considered your complete restoration and risk management solution regardless of the size of the loss.

Topics: Restoration Contractor

How Third Party Administrators Have Shaped Our Restoration Services

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Jan 21, 2019 @ 02:14 PM

Third Party Administrator Programs Provide Excellent Framework for Restoration Customer Service

Restoration ConstructionLove them or dislike them, our insurance restoration business model has been molded by Third Party Administrators (TPAs) from the onset of our business plan.  This was intentional to simplify our new restoration service division in a complex industry to satisfy all end users, i.e. insurance companies, and policy holders. 

We recognized that the TPA programs as a whole offer the frame work for high levels of customer service for all entities that we serve.  Our systems are based on the TPA frame work, so whether we are involved under one of their programs, or work that we do as directly hired by an insured, our service will be the same consistent level of quality.

What we have gleaned from TPA models:

  • Cost Efficiency and Predetermined Pricing – One of the reasons TPAs were originally developed was to help make claims more cost efficient. We use the same estimating software as the insurance carrier, so our pricing matches.  This takes out any discrepancies or a source of discontent with the insured.  It also eliminates the need for a policy holder to waste precious time shopping for a restoration company based on the price.
  • Improving Service Time – TPAs have strict reporting requirements to track response times and work progress. Our parent company, Wolgast Corporation, a 70 year old commercial contractor, has a reputation for getting buildings built quickly.  We draw from their experience and processes to set milestone dates and ensure that we’re efficient and meet deadlines established at the start of the project.
  • High Level Customer Service – In our program work by TPAs, we are regulated as to how quickly we respond to a claim, how quickly we provide estimates and how quickly we complete our work; all things that are important to the affected policy holder. This has helped us to provide excellent customer service to policy holder’s, many of whom have sent us letters of goodwill stating their appreciation during their time of need.  We have taken this a step further with sensitivity training for our first responder staff members to help instill in them that they don’t just need to quickly expedite critical restoration processes, but also that they need to provide emotional support to the insured during a highly sensitive time.
  • Maintaining Qualified and Well Trained Staff – Each of our staff members have been trained and certified in their area of expertise, as well as have had background checks prior to entering an insured’s property. This is how we can confidently comply with TPA programs as well as reduce risks of deviation from our reputable service.

We continually hone our processes to continue to improve our speed, efficiency, customer service, and staff development, as we speculate that TPAs will continue to expect more.  This is how it’s been since the inception of Wolgast Restoration and how we set ourselves apart.

Check out these blogs:
How to Meet Expectations of Property Insurance Customers after a Disaster
Being What Agents and Adjusters Seek in a Restoration Company

How to Solve Your Biggest Problems with Property Content Recovery

Topics: customer service, business preparation, restoration

Supporting Insurance Carriers through a CAT Loss

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Nov 26, 2018 @ 03:55 PM

In a high stress situation of a Catastrophe (CAT) Loss, it’s easy to forget that insurance carriers and restoration companies are working toward the same goal: restoring a property to a pre-loss condition while satisfying the policy holder efficiently.  Meeting the customer’s needs can be taxing for both ends of the spectrum whether it’s matching coverage expectations or the speed and manpower expectations, all while numerous other customers are also calling to notify you of their needs.  Wolgast has a plan in place to support insurance carriers during this harried time.

ServiceMapWe know the importance of moving quickly to reach the optimal number of policy holders and following through with quality service to keep them happy.  As a systemized company, we use a carefully constructed and laid out CAT protocol/process and are prepared to reach a wide variety of property owners in a short amount of time, plus we have the capacity and resources to effectively handle their restoration needs by drawing from our general construction division and its staff when necessary.  This system guides us to know the manpower that we will need, the responsibilities of each staff member and the communication necessary to remain responsible, accountable and organized.  Also, with two locations in Michigan, one near the center of the state in Freeland and one in the southwest in Kalamazoo, we’re ready to cover a large portion of Michigan to readily help you serve your clients.

Our specialty restoration services for quick reference:

  • Board-ups
  • Content Clean-up and Storage
  • Restoration of water, mold, fire, smoke, wind, vehicle, and/or vandal damage
  • Rebuilding (General Construction Division)

We are specialized handle any size claim for both commercial and residential property owners.  Please contact our 24-hour hotline at 855-WOLGAST in the event of an emergency.

 

Download our White Paper, “Reduce the Effects of a Disaster on Your Business” at: www.wolgastrestoration.com/reduce-the-effects-of-a-disaster-on-your-business to learn the details about how we do this for Businesses.

 

Topics: Water Damage, wind damage, Wolgast Restoration, structural damage, fire damage

Disaster Response Planning: 4 Ways to Save Time & Money during Property Disaster

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Sep 24, 2018 @ 11:07 AM

DRPFoxGlenAptsPlanning for a disaster is the best way to get through the mayhem faster.  However, how does a property owner or manager fully prepare their building for all types of disasters?  It can feel like a never ending and expensive task when you try to ward off a storm, flood, fire, vehicle impact, etc. without proper direction.  And rather than attempting to avoid all disasters, we recommend that the solution is a Disaster Response Plan (DRP) organized by a professional restoration company.  This plan will contain all the information needed to quickly react in an unforeseen incident involving damage to your properties.  Each DRP partnership is customized to a client’s specific business needs and building structure.

To provide more detail, a DRP is a record of documents that include all pertinent information about a building or campus that a restoration contractor would need to quickly mobilize appropriate equipment, along with the contact information for responsible parties of building functions.  This type of plan is highly beneficial for large, public buildings or entities responsible for multiple buildings, such as school districts, multi-family housing, or hotels for example, which can have a variety of risks to their separate structures.  Having a DRP on hand can lead to loss prevention, reduce the size of the loss, a quicker response time, and a faster restoration process. 

Loss Prevention: Identifying potential hazards that can preemptively be changed before disaster happens.

Reduce Loss Size: Knowledge of structures layouts and utility shut-offs once on site can minimize issues.

Response Time: Business owner or manager can make a quick call to their restoration partner and they are also placed on our priority list.

Faster Restoration Process: The partnership that happens in a DRP relationship authorizes us to start our process with the insurance company instantly and prior knowledge of the building allows us to be prepared as we come on site.  This can result in months of time savings in your business and building restoration.

For instance, if a pipe bursts in the middle of the night, your restoration contractor can mobilize and bring the right equipment or materials and contact the plumber before they even show up to your building, rather than getting there and assessing the situation and then taking action.

Working with Wolgast Restoration to develop your DRP means that we will already have knowledge of your facility in the event of an emergency and can react quickly to minimize the damage earlier and in turn save you time in the restoration process and lessen your business interruption.  If you have further questions or would like to set up an appointment to learn more about a partnership, please contact, Jeremy Wagner - Wolgast Restoration General Manager at 989-781-0173.

Topics: disaster plan, Restoration Contractor, prevention, restoration from start to finish

How to Meet Expectations of Property Insurance Customers after a Disaster

Posted by Cory Sursely on Wed, May 30, 2018 @ 03:09 PM

The Restoration Contractor’s Role in a Dynamic Team

RestorationWorkA Property Restoration Contractor is in a unique position with diverse clients and multiple customers on each of their projects.  It’s the restoration contractor’s responsibility to find the best solutions that both the policy holder and the insurance adjuster can agree upon.

Wolgast Restoration, a systemized company, feels they have found a solid program to be a solution provider to this dynamic team.  Their systems have been developed to include the steps for best case outcomes and case studies they’ve accumulated through their own past experiences.  The system dictates the steps they take on each unique project, which helps the process run smoothly, communication stay open, and expectations be met.

Should expectations not be met, it can sour the relationship for most or all parties.  And there are expectations throughout, first from the initial meeting of the policy holder, which is typically a highly upsetting time for the policy holder as they’ve just experienced a loss and are facing many unknowns.  As part of Wolgast’s process, staff members are trained on how to handle sensitive situations.  When there is a large project to tackle, sometimes it’s easy to jump into action without realizing that the policy holder’s world seems to be in shambles.  Having Wolgast’s team members address the direness of the clients situation helps to start the project with trust that they’ll be taken care of.

Other expectations to be met are the scope of work, what will be covered, and what the restored property will look like when it’s finished.  Wolgast addresses this by using Xactimate software and following IICRC guidelines.  A Restoration Contractor can easily set expectations for the cost of the restoration by using Xactimate estimating software as it’s the same software/pricing that the adjuster uses for their estimate.  This takes out the guessing game early in the process.  The contractor and adjuster only have to agree on the scope of work at this point, and the methods of restoration are dictated by the standards of IICRC, also well known throughout the industry.

Finally, in the unfortunate case of a total loss, say due to a fire, Wolgast Restoration is part of a team of licensed Michigan Builders that have been in business for 70 years, which includes a licensed architect on staff.  This is an advantage that Wolgast Restoration brings to the table.  A team of this caliber with the knowledge of the insurance industry standards, language, pricing, and policies; plus a skilled construction workforce and architect will complete your restoration quickly, efficiently, and with expected outcomes.

Lastly, Wolgast has established good ratings with all Third Party Administrators with which they work.  The TPAs appreciate our professional and systemized approach to insurance restoration.  Wolgast works hard to maintain their scores with these TPAs and will do the same for insurance adjusters, agents and their customers, so all parties can maintain their respective clients.

Topics: Restoration Contractor, customer service

6 Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Posted by Cory Sursely on Thu, Jan 25, 2018 @ 10:42 AM

PipeInsulation.jpgThe fluctuating temps we’ve experienced this winter can wreak havoc on our health and our building pipes.  Neither are fun to deal with, and many who haven’t experienced bursting pipes are often caught off guard when it happens.  The freezing and expanding and contracting action causes pipes to break and/or crack then water floods your building or home creating mayhem.  There are simple preventive measures you can take to protect yourself from a leak and we share them with you below.

  • Where your pipes are near or within an exterior wall, make sure there is adequate insulation. Depending on the age of your structure, you may need to add more even if it’s been adequate in the past.
  • Fill holes such as gaps at the sill plate in the basement, or holes for cable ore electrical wires with expandable foam insulation. Also, apply weather stripping to doors and windows which can let in a draft.
  • If you have living space over a garage, keep the garage door shut to avoid cold air exposure, and weather seal your garage door at the bottom.
  • Don’t let your thermostat fall below 55 degrees if you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time. When you’re home, it’s best to maintain a regular temperature rather than fluctuating warm and cooler.
  • Wrap exposed pipes with pipe insulation or heat tape, such as those in a basement, garage walls, or under sinks.
  • When temperatures are expected to significantly plummet, expose pipes to more heat where you can by opening cabinet doors at night, or allow cold water to drop at the lowest frequency possible to keep a flow of water going overnight.

This is a simplified list of activities that can make a significant impact on your quality of life.  We understand the imposition that flooded buildings create by forcing the mobilization of your life while the mess is cleaned up and repairs are made and we want to help you prevent that as much as we can.  If you have any questions be sure to call us at 855-WOLGAST.

 

Being What Agents and Adjusters Seek in a Restoration Company

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Jan 08, 2018 @ 09:06 AM

RestorationEquipment2.gifI have searched online to see what industry professionals recommend for restoration companies (RCs) to gain more referrals from insurance agents and adjusters and have learned some interesting and quite varied tips.  All seemed to agree, though, that customer retention and relationships were the most important contributing factors to choosing an RC.  We have to agree that retention and relationships are most important, too!  We would add that trust, great workmanship, and promises met are the means to achieve both these qualities. 

We want to have good relationships with agents and adjusters throughout Michigan and feel that we can develop connections and gain trust through our proven track record.  Currently, we participate with six Third Party Administrator (TPA) programs.  We’ve consistently met strict guidelines to stay active within their programs, which are in place to keep their insured happy and a customer of their respective insurance carrier.  In essence that is our role as RC, do a thorough and satisfactory job for the insured for a reasonable price, so all parties are happy.

Specifically, the TPAs grade us on our customer service, response times, documentation, workmanship, and process times.  Things that would be important to all agents, adjusters and insureds.  We would maintain high-level performance in each of these areas for you with retention as the goal.

Wolgast Corporation has been rebuilding and restoring buildings that have been damaged by mayhem for 70 years!  Our Restoration Division may be newer, but we have seasoned restoration professionals, credentials, experience, equipment, and two locations (Saginaw & Kalamazoo) to perform large and small emergency clean up, mitigation, and reconstruction services.

We want to develop a relationship with you beyond a preferred vendors list, so that you’ll know and be comfortable with our full range of services and background.  We strive and are amenable to be what all agents and adjusters look for in a restoration company.  Call to set up an interview/meeting.  We will perform to make you look good and keep your insured a client of your company.

www.wolgastrestoration.com | 855-WOLGAST (24 Hour Emergency Hotline)

 

Topics: Wolgast Restoration, Restoration Contractor

Benefits Adjusters Gain Working with a Professional Independent Restoration Firm

Posted by Cory Sursely on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 @ 10:40 AM

Equipment.jpgThe insurance restoration industry is filled with franchised, nationwide companies.  They have come with an established name and a network of connections.  However, based on our experience as a general contractor reconstructing structures after they were damaged, we saw there were areas for time savings to get our clients in their buildings or homes faster.  Being independent gives us more flexibility to tailor our service to each unique situation.  Furthermore, being systemized, employee-owned, and having an experienced construction crew on our team, we provide many benefits to quickly mitigate, clean, and restore your property following a disaster, getting our mutual clients in their building faster and the restoration project closed earlier.

As we started planning for our restoration division, we had to face the barriers associated with being a start-up and an independent contractor.  However, we had many things already going for us to enter into the industry and enough exposure through our previous reconstruction projects to know how we’d like to change things in our market to set us apart from our competitors.  First off, we were already a systemized company and could apply the same planning to create a seamless flow from our restoration services to our construction services and streamline the process, making it quicker for residential or business owners to get back into their home or building. 

Also, we are an employee-owned company which leads to many advantages for attracting quality staff and also to provide an elevated level of customer service.  Our employee ownership program makes each staff member vested in the success of the project, so they will make you look good in the eyes of our mutual customer.  We have 130 staff members, giving us the ability to do much of our work in house, and to accommodate large loss projects easily.  Additionally, being paired with a construction company gives us ready access to back hoes and two-ton dump trucks which can make work move along quicker.

Additionally, we had the flexibility to add services that aren’t common among many restoration companies.  Those include content cleaning, storage, and re-construction.  We have two storage warehouses to take on multiple content storage projects, if needed, and our construction division has almost 70 years of experience in commercial and residential buildings, with the ability to design and rebuild damaged structures.  Over the past 69 years, Wolgast has done its fair share of reconstruction after a fire, vehicle impact, or flooding.  We could see that there were delays that prevented us from starting our work as we waited for paperwork to be filed and the project to be handed to us to start construction, based on an additional company being introduced to the mix.  Now, by being on the same team, communication with the insurance company can take place earlier, plans can be drawn, materials can be ordered, contractors reserved, and the process can run more smoothly to get our customers in their building quicker.

We are interested in being added to your approved vendors list.  Please contact us for information, 888-WOLGAST.  This is also our 24-Hour hotline for emergency calls, should your client need our services in an emergency.

 

Topics: Restoration Contractor, customer service, employee-owned, Contents Restoration

How to Solve Your Biggest Problems with Property Content Recovery

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Jul 24, 2017 @ 02:58 PM

Outsourcing Your Content Recovery and Processing

ContentCleaningArea.jpgIn many property restoration situations, content restoring is one of the critical parts of the process.  However, not every restoration company or general contractor offers it as a service.  Most include mitigation, board-ups, and cleaning, or alternatively just reconstruction, which are also critical parts.  For those companies that don’t offer the content processing service, they can outsource it to companies like Wolgast Restoration to remove the items, clean and deodorize them, and store them via an inventory system in a large, climate controlled, secure and dry location.

Baseball-Fire.jpgOftentimes, the bulk of the heartache of a disaster isn’t the loss of the structure, but more so the loss of keepsakes and other valuable items.  Using a content processing crew that is trained by IICRC can help to clean and deodorize a wide range of items that may otherwise be mistaken as ruined.  We surprise our clients quite often with the rare items that we can restore to pre-disaster condition.   For instance, one of our customers had an antler mount on a cream colored base that was stained with smoke and soot and thought to be a total loss, but through our IICRC training and equipment, we were able to restore the base and the antlers to their pre-disaster condition, much to the client’s surpriseAdditionally, we were able to salvage a large part of a different customer’s massive baseball collection after a fire in his home.  He not only had over 200,000 baseball cards, but also newspaper clippings, books and other valuable memorabilia.  Needless-to-say, the customer was concerned about the inventory and keeping track of the items that were most valuable, regardless of salvaging or not.  We were able to assess everything, salvage a large portion and satisfactorily establish his comfort with our system to keep his collection intact for his review. 

Content-Storage-Area.jpgIn addition to sanitizing, we keep inventory of all items in our care.  We use a barcode tracking system to inventory and process contents, so at any time during our care, we know what items have been cleaned, what items still need to be cleaned, and where an item is in our warehouse (which vault).  Additionally, we have adequate storage/vaults to take on a loss of any size and we carefully pack-up all items for storage then keep them secure until it’s time to return to their owner.

Adjusters, restoration companies, general contractors or building owners can contact us at 855-WOLGAST, for our content processing services.  We can also be contacted at that same number 24-hours a day to provide restoration services, mitigation through reconstruction, if necessary.

Topics: Restoration Contractor, Contents Restoration