As an insurance agent or adjuster, you receive a call from a policyholder reporting fire damage at their residence or place of business. After taking down the essential information and ensuring that no one was hurt, your next step is to find a restoration company to begin the arduous clean-up process (provided the fire wasn’t a total loss). You refer to your list of approved restoration vendors, recommend one and send them out to the fire location. But what happens next can be particularly frustrating: The restoration company that you sent arrives on the scene only to discover that another restoration company has already arrived, set up their equipment and begun work. How did this happen?
You should be aware that not all restoration companies abide by the same code of ethics. Many resort to “fire chasing” –outfitting their marketing staff with police scanners or special smart phone apps that notify them when and where a fire has occurred. Armed with this information, they dispatch a crew to the fire scene, convince the homeowner (who is often in a distressed state of mind) to sign a work authorization and commence work. What can you do to stop this unsavory practice?
As soon as you receive the call that a fire has occurred, caution your policyholder that he/she will have various restoration companies knocking on their door to solicit their business. Tell them to “Just say NO!” Advise them that it is in their best interest to choose among several of your agency’s “Approved Vendors” to ensure that the work is done by certified restoration professionals for a positive outcome. Explain that by not using one of your approved restoration vendors the policyholder runs the risk of price gouging and shoddy or incomplete work.
You are in the business of protecting your policyholders. Educate them on fire chasers and you will be protecting them against becoming victims of unethical business practices when they are at their most vulnerable.
Burke Emergency Restoration in Manchester, NH does not engage in the practice of fire chasing