Do P&C agents and adjusters love giving referrals to restoration co's?
August 29, 2012 3:39 PM   Subscribe

P&C agents and adjusters: are you marketed to by restoration companies (water, smoke, mold, and so on)? Is it helpful or annoying, and do you make referrals?

Thinking of buying a restoration franchise, and it sounds like the key to pulling it off is really just marketing. They say you reach out to insurance agents, who eventually end up directing clients to you when something goes wrong.

Please help me understand if this is difficult to pull off? I've not done much outside/cold sales, but my partner has and he'd be the one in the lead on sales. Is it just a matter of letting agents know that you exist and you guys are happy to hear about us? Or, do you get hit up by 1000 people a day trying to get referrals?

Basically, if we show up to your office with cookies and muffins, and take you out to lunch from time to time (and throw a CE credit seminar every once in a while) are we going to get any business? Or is it much much harder than that?

Yes, I know that buying a franchise has it's drawbacks; I'm mostly interested in discussing the marketing piece for now. We have no experience whatsoever in the restoration industry, and we plan to be honest about that (I've heard it works). I tend to be skeptical by nature... and at the moment I'm questioning their claims about how easy it is to get off the ground.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (2 answers total)
I'll try to answer this the best way that I can. I'm involved with assigning claims to contractors during the first notice of loss process so that's where my brief understanding of insurance and restoration companies comes from.
I would agree that the key to owning a franchise company is really just marketing and networking.

You and your partner need to reach out to three key players in the insurance field: 1) independent agents 2) insurers, and 3) claims manager companies.

Let these key players know that you exist and that you would like to work with them.

Most will put you on the list of contractors to use since you're a franchise company. As part of a clams manager company, we rotate through the list. But, most of the companies listed on here are actually franchises nationwide. This is primarily because even though you're a franchise company, you're affiliated with a well known company that has been running for years and has a solid reputation. It's rare that I'll see a company that does not belong to a franchise on our contractor list.

This isn't much information, I know. But hopefully it helps out. See if you can network within the restoration company and speak to various franchise owners because they would be able to tell you first hand what the experience is like ranging from working with insurance clients, claimants, and even the company itself.
posted by livinglearning at 5:03 PM on August 29, 2012

P&C agents and adjusters: are you marketed to by restoration companies (water, smoke, mold, and so on)? Is it helpful or annoying, and do you make referrals?

I used to work for an insurance company and spent some time over in claims. I can attest that they're always getting marketing materials from restoration companies, and they do make referrals. The company I worked for had a sort of little black book going for these outfits, and while individual adjusters would have favorites in a given area,* they were pretty much always looking for new contractors. Not because they were dissatisfied with the companies they already knew about, but because (1) no single contractor has the capacity to do every job out there, and (2) spreading things around a bit kept them from getting too dependent on one contractor.

So at the weekly claims meeting, they'd bring the marketing materials they had each received and ask if anyone had worked with any of those contractors before. If yes, that one goes in the trash. We already know about them, so hey. If no, it gets added to a list, and maybe given a call the next time we need something done in that area.

One thing to really keep in mind is that there are a lot of third-party claims management companies. Sedgwick, Eagle, Crawford, etc. You'll want to keep them in mind as you go about marketing yourself. Agents as such generally have minimal involvement in the claims process beyond taking notice of the loss and passing it on to claims. Agents are in sales and marketing, and they interface with underwriting departments. Neither has a ton to do with the claims process a lot of the time. So contact agents, yeah, but understand that they probably aren't who you really want to talk to.

*National company with only one office. Adjusters would routinely manage claims from an entire state.
posted by valkyryn at 6:38 AM on August 30, 2012

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