Wolgast Restoration Blog Page

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 optimum 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

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: Restoration Contractor, Wolgast Restoration

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing?

Posted by Rich Droste on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 @ 01:02 PM

Copper pipe insulatingFrozen pipes are one of the most common and costliest property damage events during the cold winter months. In fact, a burst pipe can result in tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Fortunately, frozen pipes can be prevented quite easily and inexpensively.

Water freezes when heat in the water is transferred to subfreez­ing air. The best way to keep water in pipes from freezing is to slow or stop this transfer of heat. Ideally, the best way to protect pipes from subfreezing tem­peratures, is by placing them only in heated spaces and out of attics, crawl spaces and outside walls. Unfortunately, this may not be a practical solution for existing homes. In the case of new construction, however, optimal pipe placement can be designed into the building.

Vulnerable pipes in existing homes should be fitted with insulation sleeves or wrapping to slow the heat transfer. It is important not to leave gaps in the insulation that expose the pipe to cold air. Hardware stores and home centers stock a variety of foam rubber and fiberglass sleeves, in various thicknesses.

Cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes should be sealed with caulking to keep cold wind away from the pipes. Kitchen and bathroom cabinets can keep warm inside air from reaching pipes under sinks and in adja­cent outside walls. It’s a good idea to keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to let the warm air circulate around the pipes.

Electric heating tapes and cables are also available to run along pipes to keep the water from freezing. These must be used with extreme caution; follow the manufacturer’s instructions careful­ly to avoid the risk of fire, and check to make sure the product conforms to UL 2049. Tapes and cables with a built-in thermo­stat will turn heat on when needed. Tapes without a thermostat have to be plugged in each time heat is needed, and may be forgotten.

Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes:

  • Install a reliable back-up power source to ensure continuous power to the building.
  • Insulate all attic penetrations.
  • Properly seal all doors and windows. 
  • Seal all wall cracks and penetrations, including utility service lines.
  • Install insulation and/or heat trace tape with a reliable power source on various wet sprinkler system piping. This includes main lines coming up from underground passing through a wall as well as sprinkler branch lines.
  • Place a monitored automatic excess flow switch on the main incoming domestic water line to provide early detection of a broken pipe or valve when the space is unoccupied.
  • When away from home for an extended period of time, don’t set the thermostat at too low of a temperature. If you are not sure how low to set the temperature, consider shutting off the main water supply and draining the water system.
Open bathroom or kitchen faucets adjacent to outside walls to allow the water to slowly drip. This won’t necessarily prevent the pipe from freezing, but it will relieve excessive pressure to prevent the pipe from bursting, if it does freeze.

Topics: Wolgast Restoration, frozen pipes, Prevent pipes from freezing, faucets

What Causes Frozen Pipes to Burst?

Posted by Rich Droste on Tue, Dec 30, 2014 @ 12:59 PM

burst frozen pipeHow do Pipes Burst?

Contrary to popular belief, pipes do not typically burst where the ice blockage is located. The expansion of the ice against the wall of the pipe does not cause it to break. Rather, after a complete ice blockage in a pipe occurs, the continued freezing and expansion inside the pipe causes water pressure to increase downstream, between the ice blockage and a closed faucet at the end. This increase in water pressure is what causes the pipe to fail. Usually the pipe bursts where little or no ice has formed. Upstream from the ice blockage the water can always flow back towards its source, so there is no pressure build-up to cause a break. Water has to freeze for ice blockages to occur. Pipes that are adequately insulated along their entire length are usually safe from freezing.

Which Pipes are Susceptible to Freezing?

Generally, homes and structures in northern climates are built with the water pipes located inside the building insulation, which protects the pipes from subfreezing weather. However, ex­tremely cold weather and holes in the building that allow a flow of cold air to come into contact with pipes can lead to freezing and bursting.

Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are all vulnerable to freezing, especially if there are cracks or openings that allow cold, outside air to reach the pipes. Research has shown that “wind chill,” can accelerate the freezing process.

Holes in outside walls where television, cable, or phone lines enter can allow cold air to reach pipes. The size of pipes and their composition (e.g., copper or PVC) have some bearing on how fast ice forms, but they are relatively minor factors in pipe bursting compared with the absence of heat, pipe insulation and exposure to subfreezing air.

At What Temperature do Pipes Freeze?

When should you be alert to the danger of freezing pipes? That depends on the climate where you live, but the “temperature alert threshold” is 20 degrees F.

This threshold is based upon research conducted by the Building Research Council at the University of Illinois. Field tests of residential water systems subjected to winter tempera­tures demonstrated that, for un-insulated pipes installed in an unconditioned attic, the onset of freezing occurred when the outside temperature fell to 20 degrees F or below.

However, freezing incidents can occur when the tem­perature remains above 20 degrees F for an extended period of time. This is especially true if pipes are exposed to cold, flowing air, as on a windy day, due to cracks in an outside wall or lack of insulation. However, the 20 degrees F “temperature alert threshold” should be applicable in most cases.

Topics: Wolgast Restoration, frozen pipes, burst pipes, causes, freezing pipes, freezing temperatures

Your Belongings are in Good Hands with Us

Posted by Rich Droste on Fri, Nov 28, 2014 @ 12:51 PM

Home in Good HandsSuffering a disaster from a fire, flood or storm can be a traumatic experience for homeowners and their families. More often than not, the emotional trauma is linked to the loss of their personal belongings than it is to the damage to the structure. Usually, the reason for this is that people understand that the walls, ceilings and floors can usually be repaired to their original condition, or better. But sentimental belongings, keepsakes, and photos are often irreplaceable.

At Wolgast Restoration we understand the emotional connection people have with their personal belongings, and we take that very seriously. Our IICRC certified technicians are highly trained in how to recover and care for our customers’ belongings.

No matter the extent of the damage, we treat every recovered item as though it can be saved and restored to its original condition. Even if we find that something is damaged beyond repair, we respect the fact that it still may have a sentimental meaning to the owner, and we let them make the choice whether or not to dispose of it.

We take extreme care during our recovery, packing, storage, and restoration processes. We implement a thorough pack-out and digital inventory system that allows us to track each item to ensure its protection from further damage or loss. We utilize the latest methods in content restoration technology to clean, decontaminate and restore even the most sensitive and delicate items.

Everyone has different tastes in how they choose to decorate their homes and in the things they find attractive, meaningful, or useful. Our technicians take this seriously and make no judgment or comments about your personal belongings or the contents in your home. We are only there to do our job of recovering as many of your items as possible, in the best way possible. To preserve your privacy, we don’t enter any unaffected rooms, closets, or storage areas without permission from you, and only if it is necessary to complete our job.

If a disaster strikes your home, a Wolgast Restoration Lead Technician or Supervisor will meet with you before beginning the process of recovering your belongings. This gives you the opportunity to express your specific wishes and concerns to our technicians so everyone’s expectations are clearly defined, and you get the results you deserve.

Topics: Wolgast Restoration, Home, belongings, restoration

4 Helpful Tips for Choosing a Restoration Contractor

Posted by Rich Droste on Fri, Jul 11, 2014 @ 09:49 AM

Helpful Restoration TipsExperiencing property loss due to a flood, fire or other disaster can be a very stressful and confusing event for the building owner. For that reason alone, it is very important that you choose a qualified restoration contractor who can answer any questions you have about the restoration process, to help alleviate your concerns. The project manager should listen closely to you and offer an open line of communication to guide you through the entire restoration process, without making you feel uncomfortable. This will ensure the project runs smoothly and gets completed on time, and to your satisfaction.

Certified restoration contractors are required to meet a strict set of standards, dictated by insurance companies and industry organizations to restore property to its pre-loss condition. If a restoration project is done improperly, it can result in mold growth or other toxic hazards that can cause serious health issues for the occupants.

Before choosing a restoration contractor, research your options carefully and take these four tips into consideration:

Tip #1: Do Not Choose a Friend or Family Member in the Construction Business

We’ve all heard the horror stories about someone who hired their handy brother-in-law with construction experience to put a new roof on their home, and it turned out to be a disaster. It is never a good idea to try to save money and cut corners by hiring a friend or family member to make building repairs that are beyond their skill level. This usually harms the relationship and costs more time and money in the long run.

Tip #2: Do Not Choose the Contractor Who Built Your Home or Building

General contractors and construction companies who mostly build new construction do not have adequate insurance restoration experience. They lack the equipment, experience and certified training required to perform water mitigation, smoke odor removal, content restorative cleaning, deodorizing and handling techniques. Also, they may not understand the proper methods for reconstruction and repairs under these unique conditions, not to mention how to identify and deal with the hazardous materials and dangerous structural conditions, after a disaster.

Tip #3: Do Not Choose a Contractor Who Has Little, or No Experience Working With Insurance Companies

As the insurance policy holder, it is your responsibility to disclose any loss to the insurance company and provide the necessary documentation required to process the claim. You will need an estimate from a restoration company that meets the strict insurance company requirements, created using specific estimating software. If the estimate format does not meet the insurance company standards, it may be rejected.

Tip #4: Do Not Choose a Cleaning Service

Carpet cleaning and house cleaning services are great for everyday, small-scale cleaning jobs. But when it comes to flooding, fire, and smoke damage, they don’t have the technical capabilities or knowledge to remove high levels of moisture that infiltrates the floors and walls, causing dangerous mold to accumulate in a matter of days. Smoke damage also goes far beyond the soot that is left on walls, ceilings and furniture. If not cleaned and deodorized properly, it can leave behind microscopic toxins and fine particulates that can be hazardous to the health of the occupants.

Years of experience and extensive training are required to be a certified restoration contractor, and obviously, there are many good reasons for that.

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

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

Having a Restoration Company and a General Contractor on the Same Team

Posted by Rich Droste on Mon, Aug 06, 2012 @ 11:42 AM

Wolgast Corporation        Wolgast Restoration Logo RGB 72dpi

Wolgast Corporation is launching Wolgast Restoration as a very viable company to deal with all of your needs when mayhem strikes your structure.  Wolgast Restoration specializes in residential and commercial restoration when it comes to structural damage from water, fire, wind, or other mishaps.

So, what are the benefits of having your restoration company on the same team as a general contractor?  The communication and actions to start planning the construction portion of your project (if it’s needed) flows fluidly through the company as the experts in charge of your building talk freely and regularly.  Also the strength and resources that Wolgast Corporation has developed over the past 60+ years provides a solid foundation for Wolgast Restoration to handle projects of any size. 

During the clean-up portion of a project, project technicians can assess the situation and keep the construction staff informed of what’s needed and the construction staff can be estimating budgets, planning for materials, obtaining permits and organizing team coverage.  All this is done without much effort on your part, because when you have endured mayhem, the last thing you want is to be burdened with making phone calls and searching for an expert to preserve your building.

Wolgast Restoration is providing its services through the same systemized approach that Wolgast Corporation uses to provide its construction services.  We find that having this systemized approach allows us to provide the most uniform and quality service for each unique job.  It helps us move quickly to the next task rather than pause to determine what to do next, all to the benefit of our clients, through time savings.

If mayhem strikes you, please don’t hesitate to strike back with Wolgast Restoration.  Call 855.965.4278 to take immediate action.  In the meantime, if you have questions, please visit www.wolgastrestoration.com or call Mike Bellor at (989) 781-0173.

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