The treasurer hunt is our effort to find the lost or hidden treasure of missing items from an adjuster’s repair estimate.
When the staff adjuster writes a repair estimate, they typically get only 85% – 90% of all the necessary repair items.
Why is this?
- They are not general contractors, and many don’t have personal construction experience. So they miss a lot of stuff. They know how to write an estimate, but they don’t have a solid construction experience in their tool belt.
- Their goal is not to produce a 100% complete and comprehensive estimate. It is to set financial reserves aside and get money into the hands of the homeowner to move the claim along. They don’t need a 100% complete estimate to do this.
- Adjusters expect the contractor to supplement their work, thereby ensuring a 100% complete estimate of repair.
How do you conduct the treasure hunt?
Take the adjuster’s estimate to the job site and go room by room and item by item confirming each line item. Spot check measurements for accuracy, review grading of material to ensure accuracy and hunt for overlooked items of repair. Some missing items might be minor such as end caps for countertops or toe ticks for cabinets, while others are more glaring ommissions such as missing an entire room or substantial repair item.
Additionally, some adjusters are game players. Oh, yes, they are!
- They leave off overhead and profit just to see what you are going to do.
- They turn off all labor minimums even when one or more is appropriate to see if you will discover it.
- They tell you, “We don’t pay for this or that,” just to see what you will do. If you come back with a reasonable argument, they are likely to say, “Oh, OK. We’ll pay for that.”
- Others under grade items such as carpet and cabinetry to Standard Grade when they know it is Average Grade material just to see what you are going to do.
- Sometimes, they are just plain dumb. I recently spoke with a contractor whose adjuster took two pieces of identical engineered wood from two different rooms, and in one room, the floor was glued down while the other was a floating floor install. The glue-down material was estimated as engineered wood, but the same snap and lock engineered wood was downgraded to laminate simply because it was installed differently. Identical pieces of material, but one room was arbitrarily downgraded because of the way the floor was installed. Now, that is really dumb!
In today’s marketplace, the staff adjuster or independent adjuster writes about two-thirds of the repair estimates. So contractors get plenty of opportunities to treasure hunt. If you don’t do it, you will pay for a 100% repair job, but you will get paid for only 90% of it or less. Don’t let that happen!
The purpose of the treasure hunt is to supplement the original adjuster’s estimate, ensuring you and your customer get a 100% complete scope of repair.