Hail catastrophes have a HUGE impact on the insurance industry and the individuals that are affected. The ability for appraisal companies and appraisers to properly execute their job on a large-scale catastrophe is a challenge.
As an example, in May 2017, Colorado had its most costly storm on record tallying up to $3.4 billion in losses. That is a large dollar amount, a lot of property damaged, and many lives interrupted to deal with insurance claims. Our job as an appraisal company and individual appraisers is to help get the insured’s back to their life by completing our inspections and estimates in a time efficient manner.
For my company, SCA Appraisal, 2016 proved to be a challenging year. There was many large scale hail catastrophes and we as a company did not deliver as promised to our clients. We knew we had damaged our brand and our clients trust. It was time for a change.
What We Learned
Normal Doesn’t Cut It – We attempted to tackle these large number of hail claims and inspections the same way we handled our traditional day to day collision claims and it didn’t work. What normally produced good cycle time was overwhelmed by volume.
Appraisers Have Limits – We brought in extra independent appraisers to help with the large-scale volume, but it wasn’t enough. Our very best appraisers were soon staying up all hours to the night trying to close files, but it wasn’t a pace that could be kept for very long and with the extreme volume appraisers soon started to struggle to keep up with the workflow and process.
Planning is Key – As the cycle time lowered everyone continued to work hard, but the result were still subpar. The lives and families that were interrupted by the hail storm were waiting far too long for us to process their claims. We needed a better plan for tackling large scale hail catastrophes.
I knew that as a leadership team, by not having a plan in place that we had let our appraisers down, our clients down, and the vehicle owners down.
That’s why last year we set out to develop a strategy and a plan that would equip our appraisers, diversify our inspection options, and speed up our workflow. At SCA we wanted to ensure that moving forward we would perform better for the benefit of everyone involved.
What We Are Doing
Streamlined Workflow – One of the biggest delays in the industry standard workflow, is the time gap between when an inspection of a vehicle takes place and when an estimate is completed and uploaded.
During a large-scale hail catastrophe, this problem is exacerbated. Appraisers are booked solid all day during daylight inspection hours and may delay uploading photos and damage notes until late in the night or the next morning.
Dash Mobile, SCA’s mobile app, now gives a streamlined process for uploading inspection notes, hail scope sheet, and photos.
In-House Estimate Writing Team
– We have learned that one appraiser in the field handling a file start to finish may not be the best workflow for hail. That is why we will be utilizing an in-house estimate writing team to input the estimates based on our appraiser’s notes, photos, and built in hail scope sheet.
The moment an inspection is completed our writing team has what they need to write an estimate thanks to the Dash Mobile App. This will eliminate hours of lost time from the entire workflow and alleviate our overworked appraisers. The appraisers will no longer have to handle the creation and upload of the estimate after a full day of inspections.
On-Site Estimate Writing – Not all situations are the same and different situations need different workflows. In certain cases, SCA will have the capacity to run drive in’s. These are designated locations for vehicle owners to schedule an appointment for our appraisers to write an estimate.
This saves the appraisers from driving around and gives the vehicle owner a solid appointment window that they can choose to have their vehicle looked at and an estimate completed as they wait.
By equipping our appraisers with state of the art tablets and estimating software PDR matrix, SCA is going to speed up the drive-in process to help more insureds get their vehicle inspected faster.
D.A.R.T Team – No matter how good a group of local appraisers are at handling claims, no group can handle a large scale catastrophe on their own. That is why SCA has developed a D.A.R.T or Deployable Appraiser Response Team.
Our clients can rest easy knowing that our very best are on the ground and we know who they are. The DART team is made up of appraisers from around the nation. All DART members must be inside of the SCA Appraiser network, have a good cycle time, be in good standing with SCA, and already know how to write hail damage.
This is a great opportunity for good appraisers to earn additional income and experience catastrophic work.
Competitive Pay – At SCA we realize the best appraisers go where the best opportunities are, who can blame them. That is why we developed a rewarding pay structure for our DART appraisers. We have varied deployment rates based on the location and cost of living in that area to ensure our pay is fair and competitive.
Also, we know it is always a risk for an appraiser to leave their steady work of their home area to “hope” that a company has claims for them. We don’t think the appraisers should have to worry about volume when deciding to answer the deployment call for SCA.
At SCA we will deploy appraisers for 5 day segments and back fill their pay if their volume is less than 50 claims assigned in that 5 days. Appraisers can be deployed multiple 5 day segments in a row, but they no longer have to guess if it will be worth their time investment.
Open Lot Inspections – In addition to the field and drive in inspections, SCA is assisting clients with open lot inspections. With our streamlined workflow, technology, and DART team, we are perfectly positioned for this type of service.
These open lot inspections have opened SCA up to a new base of clients and increases the types of deployments our DART team will be able to participate in.
With the combination of strategies, workflow changes, and technology, SCA is ready for our best year yet servicing our clients, appraisers, and vehicle owners during a hail catastrophe.
Are you an appraiser interested in joining our DART team? Contact ANP@sca-appraisal.com