Paul Bianchina

During a major natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, insurance companies will send in catastrophe ("cat") teams of adjusters and support personnel mobilized from all over the country to quickly inspect and process large numbers of claims. With cat losses, some of the bidding requirements and paperwork are typically relaxed, due to the need to mitigate further damage and get repairs going quickly. As such, this can represent a great opportunity for contractors hoping to meet adjusters and break into the restoration field. Widespread natural disasters can also overwhelm established local restoration contractors, potentially offering another opportunity for new contractors. Remodelers who are new to insurance work should contact local contractors who already have relationships with insurance companies to see if they can either work as a sub to them, or pick up some of their overflow. If you want the local adjusters to remember you in a positive light when the crisis is over, be sure to do quality work, don't cut corners, and don't jack up your prices during the emergency.

Xactimate ( is the estimating software used by most insurance companies for writing restoration estimates. It includes a CAD program that allows you to draw the rooms affected by the loss, and from that drawing transition directly into accurate unit costs for each of the various materials within the room. There's a definite learning...

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