CoreLogic acquired Next Gear Solutions on Sept. 15, 2021. That evening, Mark Springer, Restoration Industry Association (RIA) president, and Ed Cross, restoration lawyer and official contractor advocate representing RIA’s Advocacy and Government Affairs (AGA) committee, delivered initial remarks in a public Facebook Live video.
“Another interesting and pivotal day in the restoration industry,” Springer said. “We've had so many of our members reach out to us today to ask: What is the impact and what is all about this major acquisition that we've heard about in CoreLogic acquiring Next Gear? So we thought, what a great opportunity for us is to be able to address some of the concerns, some of the questions that we've gotten about this very, very important event that is transpired in the restoration industry.”
Captured below is an abbreviated version of Springer and Cross’ remarks that speak to the RIA’s initial reaction to the developing news. Quotes are listed in chronological order. Key topics addressed include consolidation, the insurance claims ecosystem, data privacy and potential implications for the future of the restoration industry as estimating platforms, restoration management platforms and third-party administrators collect masses of information about restoration contractors.
Springer: “Now for those of you who are not aware, CoreLogic is the parent company of another restoration estimating platform that is used called Symbility. And so if you're not using it; if you're trying to connect the dots and you're going, ‘Who’s CoreLogic?’ they are the parent company of Symbility, which is an estimating platform and CoreLogic is a very large data aggregation company that works in the property restoration to collect data on all sorts of different data sets that relate to, not only the restoration industry but other property industries as well. So, that's a little bit of background. Certainly a very major event.”
Continued industry change and consolidation
Springer: “We see so much consolidation happening in this industry and so now we can see – with the acquisition here of Next Gear – we can see that this consolidation continues. And as the consolidation happens we can expect that there will be change, and you can expect another thing and that is that the Restoration Industry Association (RIA) will continue to monitor this change, and will be especially monitoring how this impacts our constituents, our members, because we know that this affects all of us sometimes with things that we didn't expect.”
Springer: “You know when I signed on with Next Gear over 13 years ago, I didn't necessarily expect that we would be here today, but here's where we are today. And these changes that we see, RIA is always going to be looking to regardless of the relationships and all the friends that we have, to make sure that we are unabashedly advancing the needs of Restorers.”
Springer: “When RIA started the AGA just a few years ago – it seems like it was yesterday, but now it's been over two-and-a-half years ago that we started AGA – we started, AGA because we believe that the restoration contractor needs have voice for their interests. A lot of these entities, where we see the consolidations happening are very, very large relative to the size of our companies. And it's important that we're able to draw together and to be able to see through the blueprint that we have developed for AGA, which is to hear and gather our members’ opinions and their issues the things that affect them, and then develop out of those peer-reviewed position statements that we can then have someone like Mr. Cross, our restoration advocate, go on our behalf to speak for us so that we are assured that our needs are represented in a way that's sustainable for the industry.”
Claims ecosystem, data privacy, implications for the future of the restoration industry
Springer: “Now, like I said just a moment ago, we know that there are going to be implications of this acquisition but we don't know yet. So we're not here to necessarily say, right now, that we know how all of this is going to affect the future of the property restoration claims ecosystem. But we know this: We know that our members have concerns – I even have concerns – about how the data in our companies is being used. Who all this data that has now been aggregated and gathered, how's that going to be used, and how is that going to affect the future of our business?”
“You know, the privacy of entrepreneurs and restoration companies is very important to many of us. We don't know how all these are areas where our privacy will be affected will actually manifest itself in the future. But we know this: We know that there are restoration estimating platforms and restoration management platforms and third-party administrators that are gathering a lot of information about restorers, and we don't know how all that information gathering is going to affect our constituents. But we know this: We know that our members have concerns about it and we know that we need more answers about. We need to know about how that information is going to be protected. We need to know how that information, as we move forward, is going to be safeguarded. And so these are the sorts of things we're going to engage around and I want everyone to know that as we move forward with AGA, we don't see our priorities as purely static. We know that the future of the issues that we face are going to evolve.”
Next steps the AGA is taking
Springer: “Our board of directors is actually meeting in two weeks in Las Vegas to be able to really identify, work around and strategize around the most important issues for our industry as we look at the path forward, the strategy forward for how AGA can address the specific needs and interests of restoration contractors. So I'm actually very thankful that we are going to be able to address this specific issue when our board meets together to talk about the strategy that we are going to be undertaking for the years to come, and I can expect this: That our board and our volunteers will be looking very carefully at the issues that relate to the privacy and the safeguards of data for our members, and for the restoration industry at large.”
Springer: “So expect to hear more on this from us as we move forward, and, you know, I'm just so grateful that we have so much support from all of you as members.”
Cross: “Well this is obviously a very hot issue. A lot of people are quite concerned about it. First thing this morning my email was absolutely blowing up with people asking questions about it.”
Cross: And although we're so early in this, we're still collecting the facts, we're still trying to figure out, you know exactly what this means and where it's going to lead, we want to give you assurance that we are nimble, that we are monitoring this and we are paying very close attention to this and that AGA, thanks to your support, has the ability, the infrastructure and the critical mass to be able to adjust and pivot as needed. You know, RIA’s interest is contractor-centric. That's the focus. OK, we are here to help the contractors. And our interest is in making sure the restoration contractors are represented in a way that does not give preference to third parties, whose interests may not be in alignment with those of the contractors, and we've had issues with other players in the restoration ecosystem in the past where we needed to, you know, take note and do some investigation and do some analysis, I don't think this is going to be any exception to that.”
Cross: “And, you know, the restoration industry never ceases to surprise me because of the way that it's set up with so much personal financial information of these companies being disclosed. And we talk about this a lot with respect to pricing: What's your overhead and profit? Is it really anybody's business what your overhead and profit is? I'm not going to tell you what mine is. And the insurance companies, you know, I mean, this is something that feels quite intrusive to a lot of restorers. So we want to have everyone rest assured that RIA is watching this very closely and we'll make sure that we can do what we can to, A, keep you informed and to advocate on your behalf, and to investigate how this is going to impact the members and to take whatever positions, publicly, are needed to advocate for the best interests of restoration contractors.”
Click here for the Restoration Industry Association's first official statement on the acquisition.