The year 2020 has been one for the record books, and even though a pandemic has changed how we live, work, and learn, it certainly has not changed the Restoration Industry Association’s mission to educate, advocate, and elevate the restoration industry.
When the Advocacy and Government Affairs (AGA) Committee was formed in 2019, it became evident that we could easily break restorers’ most prevalent issues into three categories: Pricing, Third Party Administrators, and Third Party Consultants. From there, we formed Task Forces to address the biggest issues. As the AGA Chair, I’m pleased to report on the progress of our teams.
For years, restorers across the country have been plagued by stagnant pricing in their markets. Led by RIA President Mark Springer, the AGA hosted Industry Briefings with Xactware President Mike Fulton to explore this issue, and RIA members now have exclusive access to more than four hours of Q&A on topics like the Xactimate User Agreement, custom price lists, and what to do when an adjuster refuses to pay anything other than Xactimate pricing.
The AGA’s Pricing Task Force compiled the information from these Industry Briefings and created a position statement in support of custom pricing. Furthermore, Greg Pyne, Xactware Vice President of Pricing Solutions, provided specialized Xactimate training during the October Virtual Convention, which can now be watched on demand. We urge you to keep an eye on pricing trends in your market and continue providing feedback to Xactware as we continue to work toward a fair and level playing field for restorers.
Third Party Administrators (TPAs)
Until now, there’s never been a ratings-based report comparing TPAs to one another in regard to value delivered to the contractor. Our TPA Task Force created a survey that allowed restorers to grade TPAs in categories such as fees, guidelines, contractor service, and credentialing. Nearly 1,000 restorers completed the survey and our groundbreaking TPA Scorecard was revealed to the industry during our October Virtual Convention.
Our Restoration Advocate, Ed Cross, has initiated conversation with the major TPAs and is working with them to develop innovative solutions that address the challenges identified in the survey. The RIA will conduct the TPA Scorecard survey annually so we can measure the AGA’s efforts to improve the restorer/TPA relationship. We encourage you to continue sending your recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Third Party Consultants (TPC)
The first order of business for the TPC Task Force was to define the term Third Party Consultant. This was the consensus: Third party consultants are retained to provide an opinion to a primary party, usually an insurance carrier or a property owner, as to the efficacy of some aspect of the claims or restoration process. TPCs include independent adjusters, third party building consultants, commercial loss consultants, and construction specialists who critique restoration services and/or invoices. They do not underwrite insurance policies or provide restoration contracting services. They have no contractual relationship with the contractor, but many of them evaluate contractors’ billing and work and/or provide consultation or adjusting services to insurance companies regarding restoration projects.
Chances are, most contractors have dealt with TPCs, particularly on large losses. The TPC Task Force identified the top eight issues restorers face when a TPC is involved in a project, then created a position statement for each issue. These statements went through an extensive peer review process, and the AGA is confident these statements will shorten payment timelines and reduce administrative demands placed upon restorers after the job is completed. The position statements are living documents and will be updated as needed as our Advocate campaigns for change in the TPC environment.
In September, RIA launched “Face the Advocate,” a video series in which Ed Cross interviews restoration industry stakeholders and allows them to respond to peer-reviewed positions taken by the AGA. Of particular interest is a three-part series of interviews with Adrian Frank, J.S. Held’s Senior Executive Vice President. RIA members have exclusive access to more than 45 minutes of Q&A loaded with information to assist them during their next large loss!
The Restorer’s Responsibility
While position statements are nice tools to have, they do not replace the restorer’s responsibility of thoroughly documenting their work. In the process of developing the statements, the AGA recognized the need to educate restorers on best practices, especially for large losses. Something to look forward to in 2021 is the launch of “AGA Academy!” This video training series is just one more step RIA is taking to achieve our mission to elevate the restoration industry and arm our members with the resources they need to succeed. More details will be released in 2021.
Join The Movement
Now is the time to get up to speed. The tools provided by RIA work best when they are used by many. Here are action steps you can take to help us gain momentum:
- Join the RIA
- Log in to restorationindustry.org with your member credentials. Watch the videos, read the articles, and download the statements and scorecard found in the “Members Only” section under the “Advocacy” heading.
- Stay engaged with us on social media and share AGA updates within your network.
- Invest in the movement. If we are going to advance the interests and voice of the restorer, we need your support. We have developed an advocacy budget for 2021 that includes “AGA Academy” and steps into restoration lobbying. AGA is funded by your investments. The suggested amount isn’t much – just $100 per $1 million in annual revenue.
This is a new RIA, and we are focused on and committed to advocating for restorers. While some may be relieved to see 2020 come to an end, the RIA will look back on this pivotal year and know we’ve approached every action through the lens of what’s best for the everyday restorer and the industry at large. We are eager for 2021 and we look forward to executing our strategic plan, which revolves around advocacy. On behalf of the incredible volunteers of RIA and AGA, we thank you for the support you’ve shown us this year. We look forward to serving you next year.