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.


Fort Worth in Dallas Hit Hard and Left Bruised

Last Thursday a storm pushed through Fort Worth in Dallas, Texas lashing out the area with hail, high winds (reported to be 75-90 MPH) and rain. The storm itself was quick, but left a lot of bruising in its wake particularly the Fort Worth Stockyards.

300,000 to 115,200

Outages after the storm left a total of 300,000 people without power. The number has gone down to 115,200 today, but the estimate time for complete renewal of electricity services is up in the air.

Fortunately, utility crews from Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Kansas City, Alabama and North Carolina have offered their help in alleviating this mess and getting the electricity back for the Fort Worth residents.

Not Quite a Tornado

fort worth damageThe oddest thing about the storm seems to be its brevity even though the storm produced wind “capable of the same level of damage as a small tornado.” Structures also found themselves being pelted with golf-ball sized hail and in the case of the Fort Worth Stockyards, several historical buildings were damaged beyond repair.

Although it’s caused quite a bit of heartache, Mark Hannah (a spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas) stated that the losses incurred by this storm are not comparable to anything.

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.

Roofs, Tornadoes and Stow, Ohio

Within the past few years weather has gotten crazy, and you climate denialists can say what you will, but the proof is in the pudding…or roof in this instance.

Tornado Touchdowns (Not Football) in Ohio

Earlier this week, a house in Stow, Ohio was pinched by a tornado (one of four touchdowns seen so far), and by “pinched” I mean “had a section of roof ripped off.” Thankfully, folks from the city and surrounding neighborhoods pitched in to help the Washko family who had fled to the basement after Paulette, the mother, heard what she thought was a “train” coming.

In the end, no one was hurt except the house and that poor roof.

After reading this though, it got me thinking about Ohio’s history with tornadoes, and as it turns out, they’ve had their fair share of run-ins with the monstrous wind funnel we all fear.

English: View of some of the structural damage...

English: View of some of the structural damage caused by the , tornado during the 1974 tornado Super Outbreak of 3-4 April, 1974. This F5 tornado killed over 30 people, and injured over a thousand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Historical Facts on Ohio’s Tornado Troubles

  • On April 11, 1965, and in one day, 11 tornadoes tore through Ohio claiming the lives of 60 people.
  • Ohio has had a total of four tornadoes that have reached the F5 designation. The last one was in may of 1985.
  • A Total of 29 tornadoes were counted on July 12, 1992. The second highest number was 19 tornadoes on November 10, 2002.
  • 1992 was the year of the tornado, with a total of 61 tornadoes in that year alone.
  • The only year without tornadoes was in 1988
  • In 1974 Xenia, Ohio was hit with what is considered to be the deadliest individual tornado, which killed 32 and caused $100 ( $471 million in 2013) million in property damages


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As if Detroit Didn’t Have Enough Problems Already

Statue of Orville Hubbard at Dearborn City Hall

On Monday, August 11th Detroit was hit with a record rainfall of 4.57 inches (recorded by the Detroit Metro Airport). This swelled through Detroit and ended up flooding almost half of the commercial businesses and homes in the Dearborn suburb.

And Now The Gorey Details

It was reported that Dearborn itself saw about 6 inches of rain. Their city hall was flooded and for a time 75% of their roads were impossible to get across.

Ferndale, a city in Michigan, saw 50% of its homes hit with flooding. Huntington Woods, also in Michigan, experienced rainfall-related damage to 75% of homes.

On top of this, municipal buildings saw a dramatic loss with structures in the city of Warren taking an estimated $1.2 billion in damages. Of course, this damage doe snot include the police department, district court, community center and multiple vehicles.

Help Is On The Way

Fortunately, despite Detroit’s on-going bouts with turmoil, the city council for Dearborn approved an allocation $1 million to help ease the aftermath of the heavy rainfalls and put some hope back into the hearts of its citizens.

Currently, however, the total damage done to Dearborn is still being assessed. This of course does not include the other suburbs and cities hit by the heavy rainfall a few weeks earlier.

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.

CIBS Roof Scoping Drone Test Flight

Within the past two weeks, we managed to test fly our new drone for roof scoping. The quality of the imagery and video was pretty decent, so check it out and let us know what you think.

Also, if you’re a fan of video games it makes the learning curve a bit easier 😉

Edit: As a note about the legality of drone usage, commercial usage is not currently allowed by the FAA (this footage was taken as a test, so no money was exchanged). Non-commercial usage is allowed, but the drone must maintain itself within 400 feet from the ground.

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:

Shake & Shingle Grand Opening

Many of you may or may not know, but CIBS participated in the Shake & Shingle Grand Opening last Friday for their new facility in Commerce City.

Food & drink were served, exciting times were had, and we even had a visit from some of the lovely Broncos Cheerleaders as well as our own models. We’d like to thank them for participating in the event as well as Shake & Shingle for their continued support.

Also, despite the fact that we had the new roof scoping drone at the show, we were not able to use it, but we were able to show off our new beast-like truck for all who attended (the truck drew quite a crowd on its own).

CIBS at the Shake & Shingle Grand Opening

CIBS (Contractors Insurance Billing Service) will be attending the grand opening of Shake & Shingle’s brand new facility on July 11th, 2014 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM, we invite any and all to show up and party with us!

We’re excited to support Shake & Shingle in their business endeavors!

shake and shingle imageCIBS has been in business since 2011 and has provided top-notch and accurate insurance billing for roofers and contractors.

Shake & Shingle has been providing roofing products and building materials since 1989. Known for their consistency and efficiency, they provide a variety of roof-related accessories including asphalt composition shingles, metal roofing and wood shakes and shingles. On top of that, the staff provides excellent service in helping you find answers to your questions, so check them out:

Click here to see the full details on the grand opening – Map Link

CIBS will also be debuting our brand new drone, which should add to the incentive for you people to come down and check out the new Shake & Shingle facility. The drone itself is going to be used in future roof tile scoping projects and will not only play a part in increasing our accuracy, but also makes the process fo roof scoping safer for our employees.

cibs roof drone 1 cibs roof drone 2