J. Mathew Ouellette is owner and general adjuster at Ouellette & Associates – Indiana Claims Service and the outgoing 2015–16 president of the National Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters (NAIIA). Here, he shares his unique insights on the restoration industry.
1. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR RESTORERS ON HOW TO BEST APPROACH AN INDEPENDENT ADJUSTER AT THE START OF A JOB TO ENSURE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME?
If the insured has chosen the contractor, the adjuster would contact the contractor to schedule a meeting at the site. If a contractor is looking to get on claim assignments, the best place to start is marketing agents for first-call response.
2. FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE AS PRESIDENT OF THE NAIIA, WHAT ARE THE KEY TRENDS OR CHALLENGES IMPACTING INDEPENDENT ADJUSTERS WORKING WITHIN THE RESTORATION INDUSTRY?
Making sure the lines of communication reach an agreed scope and estimate once the inspection has been completed. The key is meeting the adjuster at the site to scope together so there are no misunderstandings.
3. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION RELATED TO INDEPENDENT ADJUSTERS?
That independent adjusters (IA) are paid to reach reduced scopes and estimates and paid a percentage of what they save.
4. CAN YOU DISCUSS GREATEST CHANGES YOU’VE SEEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY IN THE LAST 10 YEARS?
The use of Xactimate and XactAnalysis, using satellite images with measurements of properties, limited assignments (for example, completing certain tasks on an assignment such as inspect, scope, write estimate, report and close, take certain statements on liability, do scene inspections then close, etc.), limiting the IA to certain tasks and then the company adjuster takes it from there, the use of drones for high-roof systems for initial inspections and ability to take aerial images of scenes.
5. IS THERE A PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT OR PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF AND WHY?
Being president of the NAIIA, revising the website and opening a call center for the NAIIA. For Ouellette & Associates, putting on four new adjusters who are younger but have experience, as well as updating our website and utilizing social media to market our services in a more cost-effective manner.