Wolgast Restoration Blog Page

Rich Droste

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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

Communication: The Key Component of a Customer-focused Insurance Restoration Claim

Posted by Rich Droste on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 @ 04:24 PM

key to communicationOne of the biggest concerns in the insurance industry today is “how to create a customer-focused organization”. This question forces insurance companies to take a closer look into their organization to identify where improvements can be made to increase customer satisfaction through better customer service performance.

This process includes looking beyond the organization itself, and delving deeper into the practices of their insurance restoration providers. The reason for this is that if a customer is not satisfied with the work performed by an insurance restoration contractor, it reflects poorly on the insurance company, and they risk loosing that customer to a competitor. And in today’s world of getting an insurance quote in 15 minutes or less, it doesn’t take long for that customer to disappear.

The best way to ensure customer satisfaction and prevent claims disputes is to provide clear, transparent communication between all parties involved in the claims process. In the case of a property damage restoration claim, those parties typically include the insured (policy holder); the insurance agent; the insurance claims adjuster; and the restoration contractor.

The first step in the claims process usually involves the insured contacting the insurance agent to make the damage claim. At this stage of first contact, it is imperative that the insurance agent listens carefully to the insured and asks the right questions. Depending on the nature of the damage, this can be a very traumatic time for the insured, and they may rush through their description of the damage or leave out important details that will determine how the agent responds to their situation. It is also important to project a high degree of compassion and understanding towards the insured’s situation at this time. The insured needs to feel that they are important to you, and you are committed to solving their problem. Reassuring them of this will help calm their nerves and provide a greater sense of comfort.

In an emergency mitigation situation, the restoration contractor should also project a high level of compassion to the insured, and communicate professionally and respectfully what needs to be done to solve their immediate problem. It is their home or business you are trying to salvage, and this is no time to undermine the extent of the damage, or downplay the urgency of the situation. Our most satisfied customers praise us for our outstanding communication and customer service over many other aspects of a restoration project.

But communication doesn’t mean much if you don’t do what you say you will. This is why it is important for the restoration contractor to provide a complete itemized estimate and accurate scope of work, using industry-approved estimating software and processes. This prevents fraudulent practices from coming into play and allows the insurance company to compare and verify costs.

Many restoration contractors are granted projects from Third Party Administrators (TPA). These TPA’s represent a network of insurance restoration contractors and award work based on the reputation, capability, quality, and professionalism of the restoration contractor. The restoration contractor must also adhere to strict standards and practices set forth by the TPAs in order to be awarded work from them. The TPA program requires timely, accurate job status communication from the restoration contractor to the TPA. The system is developed to provide efficient service, on time and on budget, at every stage of the project. If the restoration contractor does not follow the system properly, they can be fined; not awarded future work; or even dismissed from the program altogether. This can tarnish the reputation of the contractor, so there is a high incentive to comply with the system.

When you’re dealing with a property restoration project, it is difficult to know just what you might encounter as the job progresses. Because you are working on damaged property, rather than building from scratch, there is often hidden damage that reveals itself during the course of performing repairs. This is another critical time when communication is key. The restoration contractor needs to notify the insured and the insurance company and provide a supplemental estimate to cover the additional work. No one likes surprise costs after a job has been completed.

The final step in providing transparent communication during an insurance restoration project is to conduct a punch list, or walk through, with the customer to go over the work that was performed; review the quality of workmanship; and identify any corrections that need to be made. This is an integral component for ensuring customer satisfaction. Once the customer sees that the work has been done to their satisfaction, their concerns are put to rest and they can continue on with life as usual, or better.

The Fastest Way to Close Insurance Restoration and Reconstruction Claims

Posted by Rich Droste on Fri, Aug 01, 2014 @ 04:13 PM

describe the imageLarge loss insurance claims that require the services of both an insurance restoration company and a general contractor can be a nightmare for many insurance agents and adjusters, as well as their claimants. This is primarily due to lapses in coordination, cooperation, and communication between the two companies and the insurer.

When there is a breakdown in these areas, the whole project suffers, causing significant delays, frustration, and extra costs. These issues all add up to an unsatisfied customer.

At Wolgast Restoration, we eliminate these issues through the implementation of our “Total Package Approach” to customer satisfaction. This integrated system combines the expertise of our property restoration and professional construction divisions to coordinate, facilitate, and schedule the project to expedite the claims process.

Our Total Package Approach provides:

  • Immediate response to loss

  • Courteous, compassionate service

  • Timely, accurate estimates

  • Transparent project status

  • Precise scope of work

  • Knowledgeable consulting

  • Excellent value

  • Phased reconstruction process

  • Reliable scheduling

  • Quality workmanship

  • Guaranteed completion date

Our systemized approach ensures consistent, quality, and timely communication throughout the restoration and reconstruction project, eliminating delays, mistakes, and cost overruns. A restoration project supervisor and a reconstruction project supervisor are assigned to each job site with the sole mission to provide open communication channels between both divisions, subcontractors, suppliers, and the customer.

When you have a restoration company and a general contractor on the same team; every aspect of a large loss restoration project, from assessment, to reconstruction, to the final punch list, runs fluidly through the system from one task to the next.

Contact us today to learn more about how our “Total Package Approach” is the fastest way to close insurance restoration and reconstruction claims.

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: Water Damage, Wolgast Restoration, homeowners insurance, Restoration Contractor

Don’t Wait For The Rain to Check Your Flood Coverage!

Posted by Rich Droste on Mon, Jul 07, 2014 @ 03:18 PM

It’s been raining all day, for three days and you coDSCN1645 resized 600me home to find water has made its way into your basement.  Typically, you’d start to move everything off the floor that could be damaged and anything that could possibly be salvaged, start baling water and call your insurance agent.  Your agent, who you’ve been with since you bought your house 15 years ago, tells you your homeowners policy doesn’t have flood coverage.  But you have homeowners insurance; isn’t that what it’s for?

You’re paying for insurance to cover your home, so why wouldn’t you assume if your home floods, it’s covered?  This situation happens much more often than we’d like to think.   Just ask your local insurance agent.  All too often when new homeowners insurance policies are being written, homeowners aren’t thinking about disasters actually happening.  Some say, “When I purchased my house, the previous owners said they never had water in the basement,” or maybe you were a bit more proactive and double-checked your address wasn’t in a high-risk flood zone.  So skipping on flood coverage doesn’t seem like a big deal on the bright and sunny day you’re getting this new policy.  Now, your insurance agent more than likely told you what your policy covers and doesn’t cover when writing it, but, with this economy today, people are seeking insurance policies with the cheapest option in mind.  And the inexpensive ones don’t include a separate flood policy in addition to your homeowners insurance.  You always have to ask for an additional policy to cover flood damage.

It’s awful to hear about a flood in someone’s home, and worse yet to find out they don’t have flood coverage in their insurance policy.  I’m sure anyone who learned this lesson the hard way, will tell you to reconsider paying extra for the coverage.  Since I own a home in a high risk flood zone, I have to carry flood insurance, but for those whose mortgage company doesn’t require it, here are some facts that might make you think twice:

  • Everyone theoretically lives in a flood zone

  • Most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage

  • Just an inch of water can cause costly damage to your property

  • If you live in a moderate-to-low risk area and are eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy, your flood insurance premium may be as low as $129 a year, including coverage for your property's contents

Those stats, and more, can be found at www.floodsmart.gov, the official website for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), specifically designated for flood information by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).   Check out that website to learn more about flooding & flood risks, you can even look up your address and what flood zone you’re in and tips for preparation & recovery.

Beware that flood insurance can be a little tricky too, so make sure you know what you’re paying for.  Some only cover the building, only the contents OR the policy can cover both.  Flood Insurance deductibles can be much higher also.  When looking into any policy, always make sure you know what is and is NOT covered.  Leaving what is covered to assumption can lead to a disaster in itself!  So stop reading this blog and find your policy to see if you’re covered before it starts raining again. 

Topics: Flooding, homeowners insurance, flood policy

Customer Service: Lessons on Keeping Customers Coming Back for More

Posted by Rich Droste on Tue, Jul 01, 2014 @ 08:01 PM

cst service resized 600If you listen, you hear complaints all the time from friends and family about customer service when buying goods and services:

  •  “I received a great product, but the people were not friendly, I’m not sure if I would use them again”

  • “the prices are great but I can’t stand to wait for help or check out”

  • “I can’t believe they only have one cashier on this busy day”

  • “they did a great job with the construction, but never cleaned up their mess”

  • “they just walked through my home on my clean carpet with their muddy boots”

  • “I do a lot of business here, why aren’t they treating me with more respect”

Everyone has a story to tell about customer service or the lack there of, and I can say that if the customer service was bad, the odds are good they won’t use that business again.  Based on our experiences, we at Wolgast Restoration have established a comprehensive strategy to keep our customers happy and I’d like to share our thoughts with you as a business owner.

In most cases, consumers have lots of choices and they can punish poor service with their wallets.  As business people, we can’t afford to disappoint our customers and, therefore, should go out of our way on each and every job to ensure the best possible outcome.  As a result, it’s very important that we all get customer service right every time someone uses our service or purchases products.  It may only take one bad moment to lose five or more potential customers by that one person talking to their network of contacts about their dissatisfaction. 

Furthermore, as an employee-owned company, each of us at Wolgast prides ourselves on our work and knows a happy customer is a repeat customer.  A company that makes an effort each and every time to provide great customer service shouldn’t have to be concerned about losing customers to poor reviews, especially when they maintain quality in their products and services.  Even when working with a hard to please client, if you fully apply your customer service strategy, then you know you’ve done everything you could.

Personally, I would always choose to do business with companies that have GREAT customer service over another.  People tend to go where they’re comfortable and treated well.

Wolgast Restoration and Wolgast Corporation can give you the best customer service.  Not only do we have well trained personnel, outstanding quality of service and a great safety record, we care!

Topics: customer service, employee-owned, wolgast

Does Proper Attic Ventilation Prevent Ice Dams?

Posted by Rich Droste on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 @ 04:51 PM

Every once in a while in Michigan, we are known to get low slope roof ice dam resized 600some snow.  With our varying weather and temperatures, we are at a high risk of getting ice dams.  Below are some reasons and solutions to stop Ice Dams before they start.


1) Warm air rising to the peak of the attic.

2) Cold air at the lower part of the roof (warm air rises), especially just above the eave where the temperature is about the same as outdoor air.

3) Heavy snow coverage of the roof.  This acts as a layer of insulation, preventing heat loss, therefore it makes it warmer in the attic.

When all 3 of these conditions happen, ice dams can form quickly.  The heat at the peak of the roof causes the snow to melt and flow to the eave.  Since it is freezing at the eave, this melted water refreezes and allows the water to backup and cause ice dams.  The damage includes gutter, fascia, landscaping and water infiltration under the shingles.  Insulation can become wet, both exterior and interior wall cavities, drywall/paint damage and mold or mildew can form.  Some extreme cases can cause ceilings to collapse.


Yes it does, especially in Michigan’s climate with snow and frigid temperatures.  But, it is also needed in the summer months to keep the attic cool.

There are two main purposes of attic ventilation; to protect against damage to your structure and to reduce energy usage.

A well ventilated attic during the warmer months helps cool the attic down.  During the winter it helps to reduce moisture to keep attics dry – which prevents ice dams and mold.

On a hot summer day, the sun hits the roof, travels through the sheathing and heats up the attic space.  This heat radiates to the attic floor and into the adjacent living areas raising the temperature.  The attic floor can have temperatures as high as 140 degrees (with only 90 degrees outside).  Not only does this cost you money in trying to cool the space, but will cause damage to the roof shingles in early deterioration down the road.  This can lead to water leaks and expensive roof repair and/or replacement.

In the winter, the warm air from the living areas transfers into the attic and if it isn’t released by ventilation, it can cause problems.  This moist air hits cooler rafters, trusses and roof sheathing causing condensation in the form of frost or droplets falling on the materials, which in turn can cause mold and rotted structures.


1) Install proper attic ventilation.  The most efficient and effective systems use ridge vents and an evenly distributed layout of intake vents.

2) Install proper attic insulation.  It prevents heat loss from the living areas and diminishes the energy impact of having cold air flow through the attic.

3) If possible use waterproofing shingle underlayment (WSU) (snow & ice shield) at least 2’ above the interior wall line (would recommend 3’).  Valleys should be 3’ on each side of the valley center.


First and foremost, be safe.  Do not use an axe or ice pick as this can cause bodily injury and/or roof damage.  After a good snow fall, remove the snow off the roof with a roof rake.  Use a good rake that has wheels at the bottom of the rake to prevent roof damage. 

Our recommendation:  If it is not safe or is too hard to do, use a professional.

Topics: Water Damage, Mold, roof damage, Ice Dam