Wolgast Restoration Blog Page

Cory Sursely

Recent Posts

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, starting with 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 client's 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.

Furthermore, 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

Why Full Service Capabilities Are Beneficial to Insurance Adjusters

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Jul 10, 2017 @ 10:36 AM

RestorationKitchen.jpgMost often, home or business owners look to their insurance adjusters for direction in the event of a fire, flood, storm or vehicle impact emergency.  They want to know who should they call immediately, and then who should they call to clean-up the mayhem, and finally who can reconstruct the damage back to pre-disaster status? And understandably, they want each stage handled quickly.

That could be three or more different restoration companies to vet, enter into a contract with, and coordinate schedules.  It makes sense that one phone call to an established company that can handle all aspects of the disaster would be more efficient and a smoother process to complete the restoration from start to finish and will improve customer satisfaction.  Wolgast Restoration has the full-service ability, credentials, equipment and expertise to accomplish a complete restoration from emergency to mitigation through reconstruction.  When engaging us at the start of a disaster, we’ll be well informed and can establish the trust of the insurance client to move through restoration with fewer setbacks.

Insurance customers would not have to be introduced to a new company at each step of the restoring process and Wolgast will help guide them while keeping the insurance adjuster informed.  Our Restoration Division is fully trained and has the credentials for Water Restoration, Applied Structural Drying, Content Storage, Advanced Microbial Remediation, Fire & Smoke Restoration, Commercial Drying, Carpet Cleaning, and Odor Control.  Furthermore, Restoration’s parent company, Wolgast Corporation, is a general contractor who has served commercial and residential building owners throughout Michigan for the past 69 years.  The construction aspect of the restoration will be handled by the experts to provide the best quality product.

If one-stop shopping could make restoration more efficient for your clients and in turn for you, please contact us for more information or to add us to your approved restoration company list.

24 HOUR HOTLINE: (855) 965-4278

Topics: Restoration Contractor

Schools Can Alleviate Potential Problems When a Disaster Happens

Posted by Cory Sursely on Wed, Apr 17, 2013 @ 10:58 AM

 

disaster

If you’ve been unfortunate to witness what a tornado can do to a school, you know it’s the most awful thing in the world.  As a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle or grandparent you assume that your loved one is safe each day they’re at school.  Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that when bad weather hits it will pass over a school with no damage.  We’re coming into the stormy season:  Is your District prepared?

We’re pretty lucky in Michigan since we don’t need much concern for hurricanes and major flooding.  Of course, floods do happen, but not as much as a chance for straight line winds or tornadoes in Michigan.  In fact, the average number of Tornado’s touching down in Michigan is 15-21 per year.  That number was down in 2012, but history shows there really isn’t a predictor out there to say if 2013 will have more or less activity.  Michigan’s tornado season starts in April and runs through August (but has seen tornados outside these months).  Our peak season is May, June and July, thankfully, when classes aren’t typically in session.

Do you know what would be the first thing you would or should do, once the children and staff are safe and sheltered?  Facing any damage to your buildings would be easier and on target if you teamed with a professional and experienced restoration company like Wolgast Restoration.  By developing a relationship and strategy before you have an emergency would ensure the most effective, strategic, efficient way to make the decisions your District will face. 

Once you develop a Disaster Response Plan, which Wolgast Restoration can assist you with, it must be in place and managed at all times.  Some situations require immediate critical response, so having these documents ready is important for cost containment and proposed techniques in advance of implementation.  Time is always critical when a disaster strikes and having an agreed-upon course of action will alleviate potential problems.  Resources could already be in place to meet most of the demands of the situation, such as; knowledge and contact information of officials (fire marshal, school board, local building inspectors, etc.). 

Wolgast Restoration is familiar with how schools operate and insurance claims, and would work well with your insurance adjuster.  With the team formed (Wolgast Restoration, Superintendent, the District’s facilities and operations staff, local government officials, school board members, etc.), the level of communication established and all detailed documents in place YOU ARE NOW READY to handle a disaster should it happen. 

BE PREPARED AND LET WOLGAST RESTORATION HELP YOU.

Topics: wind damage, roof damage, Wolgast Restoration, structural damage, Water Damage in Schools, disaster plan

Be Prepared for After the Storm

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Mar 18, 2013 @ 01:37 PM

“It happened so fast.  Thank goodness no one was hurt.”

tornado2The storm has passed.  No one was hurt.  However, the house wasn’t so lucky.  “Now what do we do?” 

First:  GET OUT OF THE HOUSE.  While your home may seem secure, in reality it may be in very unstable condition.  Carefully leave, go to a neighbor's house or safe area before making any phone calls. DO NOT try to assess any damages yourself.

Second:  Assess whether everyone who was in the home is safe and unharmed and then move forward with your next steps.  Did you follow your safety drill?  Meet up at a designated area?  Do you have a safety drill and have you practiced with your family to prepare for a disaster?  The following web site will assist you in creating a Family Emergency Plan if you don’t already have one: www.ready.gov/make-a-plan.

Third:  Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to alert them to the damage and to start the recovery process.  They will call a restoration company, such as Wolgast Restoration, to come to your home and assess the damage and provide emergency services.  Your insurance agent will most likely either come themselves or send an adjuster to meet with you and your restoration company.

Fourth:  If you find you must leave your home, do not try and recover any necessary items if you feel your home is too unstable to safely enter.  Your homeowner’s policy should cover temporary shelter for you and your family.  (The American Red Cross, or other organizations, can be contacted to assist you with basic necessities and temporary shelter if you have no insurance.

Keep in mind that most homeowner policies have a required time frame for reporting home damages.  It is a good idea to have an itemized list of the contents in your home stored in a fire-proof box.  Even better would be video taping your household belongings.  This will help when it comes time to replace your personal belongings by identifying each specific item in detail.  Under duress, you may not be able to remember everything that was in a specific room and what may or may not have been lost.

Storms will and do happen.  Being prepared for potential disasters is the best way to alleviate the stress that comes with it. 

At Wolgast Restoration, when mayhem strikes, we strike back!

Topics: Flooding, residential, wind damage, roof damage

Spring Is on Its Way

Posted by Cory Sursely on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 @ 08:25 AM

Are you prepared for the potential storms that accompany it?

lightning

In the spring, we turn our clocks ahead one hour and our thoughts to warmer weather and the activities we love.  We plan barbecues, picnics, ballgames, camping and a wide variety of other outdoor activities.

No one likes to cancel outdoor activities, but when severe weather threatens, we need to prepare for the possibility of damages occurring not only to ourselves, but also to our home and business.  Thunderstorms, hail, rain and tornadoes cause varying degrees of damage.  

Some valuable things to remember when faced with potential severe weather:

*Check the local weather report for your area or your destination (weatherchannel.com or local news or radio station) to see if there is a chance of severe weather.  You may need to change your plans, or at least wait until the threat of severe weather has passed before heading out.

*Remember that storms can develop quickly and without a lot of advanced warning.  Having an emergency kit in your home and vehicle can provide you with much-needed necessities if caught without power or you are stranded.

**Flashlights and extra batteries, candles, matches, disposable lighters

**Battery-powered radios, cell phones

**Water/non-perishable food for at least 3 days for each person

**Blankets, pillows, extra clothing

**Moistened towelettes, garbage bags

**Tool kit

**Books and/or games

Remember that disaster can strike at any time, and most people are not prepared for it, even though they may think they are.  Being prepared for any emergency will help to alleviate stress when disaster does strike. 

At Wolgast Restoration, when mayhem strikes, we strike back!”

Topics: Water Damage, Flooding, residential, wind damage, Wolgast Restoration, structural damage, commercial

Q. What Do Spring and Basements Have in Common? A. Flooding Part II

Posted by Cory Sursely on Fri, Mar 08, 2013 @ 04:44 PM

Basement Flooding Safety & Preparedness

(Part II of II)

ElectrocutionHOW SERIOUS IS BASEMENT FLOODING:

There are a lot of hazards associated with wet or high moisture basements.  There are increased respiratory problems, harmful mold, long-term damage to the structure and equipment, personal property damage and possible decrease in house value.  Not to mention the inconvenience and hard work to fix the problems.  The number one inconvenience for most is the cost, which can add up to tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

IMPORTANT SAFETY ISSUES DURING A FLOOD:

Do not stand in water and reach for any electrical items.  If possible, wear rubber boots and if you have to touch any electrical parts use a wood or plastic item – better still, call an electrician.  Safety should always be number one in your mind with water and electricity.

Mold can set within 48 hours with standing water.  There may also be sewage contamination that would also have to be considered.  The faster you can remove the water and get the structure dry the less severe your loss will be.  Don’t wait for approval from your insurance provider to remove the water, do what you must to remove it quickly.  Take photographs and put dates and descriptions on them for your insurance company.

If the job is too big for you, please call a reputable restoration company to help get you dry and explain what must be done to protect you from further problems such as mold.  Always explain what coverage you have with the restoration company as sometimes they’ll do more work than you have coverage, leaving you with a huge bill you can’t pay.  Again, please discuss fully with your agent for proper coverage amounts.  This will help when you have a loss and you know what you are able to pay yourself.

PROTECTING YOUR PERSONAL ITMES:

Put your personal belongings on shelves to keep out of water’s reach.  Furniture with legs will help keep the water out of the material, but raise and pin the skirt if it has one.  If your basement has high moisture, run a dehumidifier, especially in the summer when outside moisture is high. 

INSURANCE COVERAGE:

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that you are required to buy additional coverage for any water back-ups that occur in the basement and sometimes under estimate the coverage that they purchase.  Roughly 22% of all residential insurance claims are from sump pump overflows and burst pipes.  It’s in your best interest to thoroughly discuss this coverage with your insurance agent in determining the right coverage and discuss what may not be covered as well.

Be safe and dry in your own home.  Your home is your castle – treat it that way and it will pay you back.

Part I - Don't Be Caught with a Flooded Basement This Spring

Topics: Water Damage, Flooding, Mold