Replace, Don't Restore

Last month’s issue of “Claims” magazine carried a cover story about Contents Restoration. It gave a good overview of the new software and hardware techniques for quickly assessing a claim, making it easier for an insurance adjuster to deal with the case and move on to the next one. They also addressed what they called, “soft skills”-such as empathy and effective listening. When we noticed that the article was written by an administrator for a company that is well known for its ability to find replacements for items deemed unrestorable, it got us thinking about cases in which contents professionals are faced with such situations. The author was quite correct, contents professionals listen to the homeowner of office manager. They treat the homes and its valuables with an even greater respect than they might their own and they seek solutions even when some items cannot be saved. For example, let us imagine that Grandpa has a collection of now burned and water-logged Ellery Queen Mystery Magazines from a few decades ago, and he thinks they are collectors’ items. He values them at more than a thousand dollars. The adjuster knows such things can be bought at a garage sale or flea market for a couple of hundred dollars. Tempers flare, Grandpa’s son (the homeowner) demands that an expert be brought into value them. The adjuster doesn’t feel that such an effort would be cost effective. Then a contents professional comes into the room and says, “Grandpa, I know where I can get a collection of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazines from the 1940’s, some from the 1960’s and some from the 1970’s-there is even one with a story written by Dashiell Hammet-the guy who wrote the ‘Maltese Falcon’ “They won’t be the ones you had, but they are a heck of a collection and they will have stories you have probably never seen before. I am pretty sure I can get them for a price that the adjuster will find acceptable. What do you say?”At such a reasonable price? EBay. They sell them by the hundreds. Why didn’t anyone else think of that, because they are not contents professionals? Contents pros are trained to deal with...well...contents. They may not be experts in every case, but they know where to look for and find replacement items in many, many cases. They prefer to restore rather than replace but, when there is no other option-they often display skills that would baffle Sherlock Holmes!