The Importance of Xactimate

Xactimate is a computer program created for estimating construction costs, and has existed for over 20 years. Its main use tends to be towards calculating building damage and repair/rebuild costs. Different industries utilize this software and can include roofing contractors, insurance adjusters and many more.

Xactimate May or May Not Be the Future

As mainstream as Xactimate is becoming some people are not too quick to catch on to its usefulness. In fact, contractors and builders do not generally use the software and end up basing their estimates on any bid a sub-contractor gives them.

This can cause issues as more and more of the roofing industry begins to adopt Xactimate as a standard use software in all their dealings. The reason is that the estimates made by the sub-contractors will differ form the estimates made through the program. This is why it is good for property owners to use an independent source to create an Xactimate estimate that they can use in the building project.

There is a downside to this though as some are not well-versed in the use of Xactimate. Results showing a low return will typically say if the independent contractor has had software training.


Overhead & Profit an Ongoing Issue in the Roofing Industry

By: Jason Sloan, Owner of CIBS

For many years all that was needed was 3 trades in order to get O&P. We have seen the insurers push back at an alarming rate on O&P. Why are they doing this?

In our honest opinion it corresponds to the economy recession of 2007-2008. New construction was all but halted. Many contractors that had built thriving business had to find new professions. A majority have gotten involved in insurance restoration work focusing mainly on roofing.

English: Moore, OK, May 25, 2010 -- Ron Crow, ...

The reason for this is that hail and tornadoes occur every year. It’s a recession-proof industry, with the exception of pricing and O&P.

Insurance claims keep rising and with that their profits are getting cut, this does not sit well with them. The insurers are fighting back with limiting what is paid on claims in various ways.

  1. Most insurers are holding code items until supplemented for and or while incurred. We deal with this by submitting code items per the ICC and the local building department. If not invoiced correctly many code items that have been approved may not get paid for.
  2. Insurers are not paying for accessories and flashings that are undamaged on a roof or siding. The reason they give is that it’s not necessary and that roofers are completing the job without replacing those items. The bad part of this is we have seen roofers at an alarming rate not replacing accessories and flashings. This makes it very difficult for the contractors that are replacing all metal flashings and accessories to legitimize this. Not paying attention to what’s already paid for and what’s on the property can cost a lot in revenue.
  3. These items are included in the scope of work.We have heard this a lot lately, we handle this by calling their bluff and submitting Xactimate white paper on the item description.
  4. O&P- we don’t go by 3 trades anymore, this job is not complex enough.A job is as complex as you can explain it and show it is. Being able to discuss a claim with an adjuster with the pictures in front of them makes all the difference in the world. If they can’t make a decision then a supervisor needs to be contacted.

Contact us if you are having issues on files and let us free up your days.

The Top 10 Property Losses By State

It’s common knowledge that weather disasters tend to take different shapes depending on which state you live in. For example, those living in Texas are well aware of their position in tornado alley and how easily those destructive torrents of wind can cut through property and take lives.

Louisiana knows the dread of flooding as statistics state that they’ve suffered $1,542,959,989.27 in damages between 1978 and 2001.

These catastrophic weather-related events just seem to be the nature of the beast when it comes to dealing with nature, and in general, living around nature. So without further adieu we give you the top 10 property losses by state:

arizone wildfire

Mesa Fire in Coconino National Forest

10. Arizona

Estimated property losses (2006-2013): $3.5 billion

Arizona has had a difficult couple of years. Not only do they face the constant outbreak of wildfires, but they’ve also dealt with numerous thunderstorms that have caused $2 billion in damages. On top of this they’ve had a total of 93 deaths related to weather.

Colorado flooding in September 2013

Colorado flooding in September 2013

9. Colorado

Estimated property losses (2006-2013): $3.7 billion

This is definitely a list to not be proud of being number 1 on, but Colorado has seen it’s fair share of weather disasters. In fact, the record rainfall from September of 2013 (we all remember that) killed 9 people and caused a massive amount of damage through a number of cities. Besides that, Colorado has seen wildfire outbreaks around Boulder and Colorado Springs that caused a lot of damage to property.

louisiana flood image

Shrimp boat left by a storm in Chalmette, Louisiana

8. Louisiana

Estimated property losses (2006-2013): $3.9 billion

Louisiana is an obvious one as a lot of the damage they sustained came from Hurricane Isaac in 2012. It was reported that about 17,000 insurance claims came in after the hurricane left.

mississippi national guard

Mississippi National Guard relief

7. Mississippi

Estimated property losses (2006-2013): $4.3 billion

Mississippi seems to be the victim of more tornado-related events as they’ve found themselves smack dab in the middle of the new tornado alley. They also experience conditions from nearby hurricanes.

oklahoma storm

Oklahoma supercell thudnerstorm

6. Oklahoma

Estimated property losses (2006-2013): $4.5 billion

Oklahoma is another victim of tornado alley. In 2013, they were hit by an EF5 tornado and then again by another tornado with record-breaking width. The total sum of this wind extravaganza costed $470 million in insurance claim payouts.

alabama tornado

Aftermath of Alabama tornado

5. Alabama

Estimated property losses (2006-2013): $4.9 billion

Alabama comes in second to Oklahoma over “number of times devastated by EF5 tornadoes”.

joplin tornado

Joplin, Missouri tornado aftermath

4. Missouri

Estimated property losses (2006-2013): $5 billion

Missouri is mostly known for one of the deadliest tornadoes in history, one that swept through Joplin and caused a whopping $2.2 billion in damage.

nashville flood

Flood in Nashville

3. Tennessee

Estimated property losses (2006-2013): $5.1 billion

Flooding caused more than $1.5 billion to Nashville in 2010 and in 2011, the overflow from the Mississippi river caused more damages in the millions of dolalrs range.

bastrop fire

Wildfire in Bastrop, Texas

2. Texas

Estimated property losses (2006-2013): $23.7 billion

Because of drought Texas endured a number of wildfires from one end, and hurricane damage form the other end. The infamous Bastrop fire ended up producing 1,500 claims and caused more than $325 million in damages.

new jersey casino pier

Damage casino pier in New Jersey

1. New Jersey

Estimated property losses (2006-2013): $26.4 billion

New Jersey’s giant insurance billing price tag comes from the damage done in 2012 by superstorm Sandy to numerous businesses and peoples lives. If that wasn’t bad enough than you can talk to the 2.1 million people who were left without power.

Drones: History, Uses and Roof Scoping

From finding people lost in the woods to spying on American citizens to delivering food, drones have found a variety of uses in our current age of technology.

Drones: From Militarization to Commercialization

Ryan Firebee was a series of target drones/unm...

Drones have been used as far back as the 1800s. One of these first known instances involved Austrians, unmanned, bomb filled balloons and a rather scary attack on Venice. Innovation for these technological wonders continued into the 1900s where they began to be used as target practice for the military, and later in World War 1, a “pilot-less aerial torpedo” was created.

This trend in warfare for drones has been popular over the past century and as technology has progressed so have drones into a smaller and sometimes deadlier packages.

…But not all is lost.

In fact, as drone technology has become cheaper and easier to manufacture, its uses have expanded to include a variety of things. Drones have been created that assist in helping find people lost in the woods , trapped under rubble or lost out at sea. They have also helped expedite the process of geographic mapping and scientific study.

More recently, however, drones have become a popular item with a lot of companies. Amazon is in talks about drone delivery for packages while projects have been started that allow for the delivery of food (burritos, at that) through a phone app.

Laws and Regulations and FAA, OH MY!

Unfortunately, despite the innovative ideas being presented by these companies, the FAA has yet to change the legality of commercial drone usage, but does allow non-commercial drone usage flights for any space under 400 feet.

This situation, however, is due to change in 2015 when the FAA will be forced to establish regulations for drones (yay for the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012). Hopefully this will open up avenues for businesses everywhere to make use of drone technology for commercial purposes.

So…what the heck does this have to do with CIBS?

Great question! CIBS is planning on using this technology in our roof scoping process.

Roof scoping today is a bit of a hazardous job and we’re forward thinking about the safety of our employees, therefore a device that allows the safe recording of roof or property damage can be quite the boon to us. The drone would also allow us access to parts of a property that might otherwise be inaccessible, so this can be advantageous to our clients as well.

In the meantime, check out some test photos shot with our recently purchased drone: