In our first YouTube episode of iink Bussin' It Down, our Co-founder, President, and Chief Revenue Officer Ryan Holliday sat down with the founders of Home Safe Claims, Eduardo Rodriguez-Delgado and Rodrigo Yervis. They discussed how their business came about, their passion for helping people as public adjusters, new technological advancements that help make their jobs easier, advice for growing business owners, and how iink helps them be more efficient in the claims process. Read on for the transcript or click play to watch the interview.
Ryan: Thanks guys for coming on the iink bus today. We're very excited to have our customers on the bus and talk about challenges that we're all working to solve here in the industry. I know you guys over at Home Safe Claims are just doing a tremendous amount of work here in the State of Florida especially after Hurricane Ian.
I would like to tell the rest of the world about what Rodrigo and Eduardo are up to over at Home Safe Claims and their excellent team that we work with here at iink. But let's talk about some of the challenges that you guys are seeing with the hurricane in particular. What are some of the first things that have come up as problematic?
Hurricane Ian Challenges
Rodrigo: Well first and foremost thank you Ryan. Thank you iink for allowing us to be here today. It's a pleasure. The bus is great and the service at iink is great. You know as adjusters we take it to heart. Our intention or our position as adjusters to help the consumer—help the insured go through tragedy which is basically their home being devastated by such things as storms, as hurricanes, as leaks, as things occur.
And all these things happen and then the homeowner, the least thing they should worry about is their insurance company and how much they should pay and that's where we come in as adjusters—to basically walk them through a process to make sure that we can truly maximize their claims so they can be bring their home back to pre-loss condition.
What Inspired Home Safe Claims to Get Into the Public Adjusting Industry
Ryan: Awesome. Actually before we get into Hurricane Ian, you hit on a little bit of the mission statement there I think for Home Safe. Tell me about you guys. How did the company start? What inspired you to get into the industry and really get out there to help homeowners?
Eduardo: Well, you know we've been friends for over almost 15 years and we tried different businesses in the past. When we started working as adjusters we noticed that there's a great need. People really don't understand what a public adjuster can really do for them and they don't understand the role of the public adjuster in the process of a claim.
We are people persons so we really like to have that satisfaction of letting someone know about a product that they already are paying money for. That really started motivating us and we kept growing and growing and we keep sharing that passion to others and you know we've been able to really build a company that we feel proud of with the help of companies like iink. You know we're looking to grow and keep providing great service but that's pretty much how it started. You know the passion to really help in the need that the market had.
Problems in the Public Adjuster Industry That Home Safe Claims Would Like to Solve
Ryan: What's one really big problem in the industry that you would be passionate about solving if you could? If you could snap your fingers and solve?
Rodrigo: There's much to say. I'm really going to go ahead and try to keep it short here Ryan because I mean the list is very long. If carriers would have a little bit more compassionate and understanding of what a homeowner goes through when they suffer a loss and not be such black and white in as to certain things that that really shouldn't be black and white about can definitely help a consumer's misery you know turn into something that's not necessarily better because the purpose of doing an insurance claim is not to have something better than what you had, but back to where you were before that thing that happened. If there can be more of:
- A level of comprehension
- Better communication
- And a better dialogue between adjusters or public adjusters and insurance adjuster
We have one mission and that is to bring that insured back to the where they before this accident. I would say that:
- More comprehension
- More understanding
- Acknowledge more of the situation that these insurers go through when they suffer damages or accidents
Eduardo: Adding to that, another thing that I would love you know like you're saying with that getting fixed is the understanding that the insurer has when doing a claim. For example, most people call the insurance company and they do a claim. They let them know that they have damage right and that they have to pay. But they are forgetting two important things, which is how much you have to pay me and why you have to pay me. So you open a claim, you ask them for payment but you're not letting them know how much or why. That's what a public adjuster is supposed to do for people. You need a public adjuster to do a proper assessment of the damages so you can let the insurance company know this is what you should pay me and these are the reasons right that are inside of the policy.
Issues in the Home Insurance Claims Process That May Not Result in Fair Award
Ryan: Do you think that there are some things that are left out in the process that shouldn't be left out for consideration?
Eduardo: I guess a fair award at the end right what the state wants is that the claim process is be fair for the insurance company, that it is not taking advantage and is fair for the insurer. So when someone does a claim, the insurance company hires an independent adjuster that goes to the property to do the assessment.
That independent adjuster is hired by the insurance company, so it could not be so independent. So the State of Florida then has a public adjuster license which is what we are, in the efforts to level you know the ground. So an insurer should call the insurance company. They hire their adjuster but they also should call their own adjuster to do the inspection so it's fair—that it's not one-sided.
A lot of people don't understand that and they believe that they're in good hands. That they don't need to look up on their own. You need to find out about the damage on your property. You need to hire someone on your own [who] lets you know what's going on, not the other party but I guess you know everything is in place. We're licensed by the state to do that, just that people don't know.
Rodrigo: To piggyback on what Eduardo was saying and to answer your question Ryan, when you're saying that if sometimes there's things that are left out or being left out of certain awards or stuff like that, I think in general, in every profession for example there's good doctors and there's bad doctors. There's good attorneys, there's bad attorneys. There's good accountants, there's bad accounts. Now there's good public adjusters and there's okay public adjusters. Our role as a public adjuster has to be able to identify, to ensure that those things are not left out. That nothing is left out. That you're able to truly go through the scope of damage, know exactly what is it that you're claiming and make sure that you have a good and solid argument that will basically ensure that you're not leaving anything left out. That's what differentiates a good adjuster and a great adjuster.
Us at Home Safe, we continuously stay up to date with the latest technologies to be able to maximize and create well-written estimates. And our understanding of statues and changes that go through from time to time to ensure that we are up to date with everything we need to be to ensure that we are doing right by our clients by making sure that nothing gets left out.
Ryan: Floridians are dealing with what right now could be an influx of adjusters that come from out of state helping to service all the claims that are going on and they just aren't familiar with the building codes here in Florida because I've seen that before.
When you have an adjuster that comes down from Minnesota and doesn't understand you know Florida—you know building code policies and and regulations where certain amounts of the roof need to be repaired. Then the whole thing needs to be replaced and so the adjusters may not know even though they have good intentions and they're working for the carrier and they want to come down and help these insureds. They may not be familiar with the state building codes and that's why it's important to have somebody that is also familiar with the state building codes that is on their side just to offer a perspective from your management.
Thoughts on Out of State Adjusters Coming in to Only Serve Big Catastrophes
Eduardo: Whenever there's a hurricane and there's a great need for adjusters, a lot of adjusters will come right from other states to help and that is great you know. They need to come but also they're here on an assignment right. They know they're going to be here for a month or two and they need to get their job done now. You as a homeowner cannot leave your claim to someone that has a time limit to go. They won't be really looking at your damage—they're looking at numbers unfortunately.
You need to have someone that will stop and do a right estimate and negotiate, not fast, negotiate, good fair. Because when hurricanes happens also a lot of time people are desperate and they end up getting a lot less than they should have. You know in the hurry, and then it's too late. So that's also important to know: Don't rush in when a hurricane happens. Really take a look if you're going to hire a public adjuster. If you're gonna hire someone, find out about that person. Go online. Check them out. It happens all the time where we find clients that they've been taken advantage of just for trying to be quick. So it's always better to do due diligence there.
What the Future for Home Safe Claims Looks Like
Ryan: Are you guys looking to expand? Are you scaling into any other states? Any other sides of the industry?
Rodrigo: Absolutely. Home Safe Claims has a growth mindset and we plan to grow exponentially. We are already licensed in the state of Texas. We're already licensed in Seattle Colorado and that's just the beginning. We created this brand during the pandemic and going through changes of other firms that we were working for before, we always had a desire to grow, a desire to expand, a desire to be a differentiator in the industry and create something big.
We had a vision to create a company. I always like to say that we want to become the Keller Williams of public adjusting where we provide a platform for other adjusters to come in, learn, grow, stay up to date with what's going on, constant training. Have a brand that speaks on loyalty, on support, on good service, on good reputation, not only with consumers but also with insurance companies. We try to be friends with insurance companies. Create good relationships with them because growth comes from that. Having a good relationship with both consumers and with the insurance companies we plan to continue to grow. We currently now cover the whole state of Florida not only South Florida. Our headquarters is in South Florida, but we have adjusters in practically the whole state.
Advice for Growing Business Owners
Ryan: If you had to get one piece of advice to a growing business owner, what would it be?
Rodrigo: Be humble. We're not experts. We're not Superman. Continuously being humble and having a humble attitude every day is what allows people to grow. So by being humble you don't know it all. I don't know it all. Although I consider myself an expert in what's considered adjusting, I feel that there's opportunity and room for growth every day. So stay up to date with what's going on with frequent changes. Read policies on a frequent basis to understand what's going on and what is covered. What isn't covered. What are exclusions. Your business depends on your product knowledge. So stay up to date. Be humble. Learn something new every day regarding what is your passion which is adjusting.
Eduardo: I will say to never give up and this goes farther more than just you know never giving up on an idea or a business itself. I will say never give up. Like I mentioned, we've tried businesses before that all failed but we kept trying. So it's important to always know that you're gonna keep moving forward. A lot of times we start moving sideways and and got to keep moving forward even if you know you don't look for perfection. Just keep moving forward a little bit. Like Rodrigo said, learn something every day and of course be humble—that's a huge one. You gotta be open, humble enough to let people help you. Sometimes ego gets in the way and you lose great help that was coming your way because you were not humble enough.
Rodrigo: Always strive for progression, not perfection.
Ryan: I love asking that question too because even though it can be you know what's that one thing right—that one thing can mean so much in a business or in anybody's life personally, professionally, or otherwise but great answers guys. You guys have been customers here with iink, how many months now?
Rodrigo: Around six months.
Ryan: How has everything been going so far with just getting used to the platform?
Rodrigo: I would say if I can describe it into a word: seamless. It has been a seamless transition from our old method to us now using iink. In home safe claims, we have a pretty large operation in the office and we have every department in the office to help provide service for our PAs in the field. So we have a settlement department. We have a customer service department. We have claims processing department. Prior to our relationship to our working relationship with iink, our mortgage processing department basically had to be on the phone all day with mortgages.
Ryan: Oh wow. What are they doing now?
Rodrigo: They're using iink.
Has iink increased efficiency in your company with the time saved?
Ryan: If that’s something that we're doing for you guys now, are they able to spend their time on other things that are valuable for the company? Or have they just become more efficient? This isn't to replace people in your company. It helps make them stronger. Make them more efficient.
Rodrigo: It's all been a blessing in disguise because iink comes in. We get on this system of automation pretty much by receiving checks, sending them over to iink. Our clients have been super happy because they've been getting the payments quick. We're not having to go to the mail every day to send envelopes of checks.
Eduardo: And we're saving money with that.
Rodrigo: All of a sudden Hurricane Ian hits and then our business increased significantly and if our mortgage processor is on the phone all day waiting pretty much from 20 to 30 minutes per line per check, per every single mortgage to then put it in an envelope then go to the mail and then send the mail. She now has more time to work on other tasks to help the business move forward as opposed to being all day waiting transferring from department to department, writing down reference numbers on checks then mailing them. So I couldn't ask for a better gig than working with iink.
Ryan: Awesome. I love to hear that you know. I think a lot of folks sometimes are not thinking with their business mind and they're thinking with their hearts. And get a little threatened by the fact that this is something that could be taking over someone's job in their you know in their organization or even that individual themselves may not want to adopt iink because they think it's going to replace them. We always encourage everybody that this is a tool for you to use to enhance what you're doing throughout the day and and get funds when you need them.Did you guys ever use the advanced funding or just the standard processing?
Rodrigo: Just standard processing.
Ryan: Okay have you used the the free service the ink Pay service with with no mortgage companies?
Rodrigo: Yes absolutely.
In what ways does iink make your job easier?
Ryan: Okay hopefully that is saving some time for you as well not having to drive around town and collect signatures.
Rodrigo: It's been great. It’s been a phenomenal experience thus far. The communication keeps on getting better and it is just making our jobs easier and allowing us more time to do what we love to do which is adjust. Adjusters adjust, adjusters shouldn't be waiting 30 minutes with a mortgage company to get a check endorsed because that's not that's not being efficient. Our job is to adjust. A lot of businesses fail because they lack effective delegating. They lack trust and we decided to trust iink. And we decided to delegate effectively that very tedious process of mortgage endorsements to iink and the results have been phenomenal.
Eduardo: We did it in steps you know because we were you know testing in the beginning and it's been great.
How have you presented iink to your insured customers? What were their reactions?
Ryan: How let me ask: have your insured received it? You know sometimes that's another fear that oh you know my customers will never want to sign something digitally and that's not really something we can help. You know there's always going to be folks that are leery of doing online banking. How have your customers received it and what do you guys how do you how do you presented to them how do you introduce them?
Rodrigo: When we speak to our clients, we like to be thorough and we like to always set the right expectations of what they should expect during the whole process. Once we receive a check, a call is made by our mortgage processor letting them know, hey congratulations we just received your check. Whether it's under speed or whether it's a final settlement, the process is the following. She basically goes over the process which is pretty simple and then once that is explained, we haven't really had much kickback or more feedback from clients. They've just been very accepting of our process—that is how it is in order for them to get their funds quickly. This is the best way and since I believe we've done a pretty good job adjusting their claim thus far, they trust us. With that trust comes results and the result is that they're getting their checks in time. They're not having to sit around and it's been a great experience, so our clients have accepted and embraced that very very well.
Eduardo: Some people you know have the old experience right because they've done previous claims and whenever they ask you know why are you guys doing this we explain the benefits of doing it this way and the time that is going to save everyone right. Some people take it right and of course there might be some that say, no you know what I'd rather do it the old way. And we do it the old way. That’s also important for everybody to know that they don't need to go a 100% percent right away with iink. At the end of the day, the insured right we will explain to them and we make it a seamless process so it makes sense. So 95% will say take it, but it's important to know that at the end you know they can decide what to do.
Rodrigo: The benefits are there and I always say features tell benefits. If you just laying out the features, it tells you about what it is, but then if you position how it can benefit their experience, how it can benefit their claims process, yeah then it's a win-win situation for everybody.
What feature would you like to add to the iink platform?
Ryan: What's the one thing that you guys would like to see us add to the app in the future?
Rodrigo: I mean you guys surprised us with what you do already—this is something that we didn't expect or know that existed. It came to us. We started using it and we love it. If you guys just bring in more I guess you'll just continue surprising me because as of now it's been a phenomenal experience. It's been great. Our clients love it. My staff loves it.
What feature would you like to improve on the iink platform?
Ryan: What's the one thing that we can fix that would be super helpful for you guys that we don't have yet? Anything that we don't have or something that right now could be improved?
Eduardo: I don't know really. You guys you get the job done in a fashion way and that's the truth.
Rodrigo: If this would have been presented sooner, I believe we could have processed a lot more claims because of the time it takes to call mortgage companies everything happens for a reason. You guys showed up, started working with us six months ago the relationship is great. It keeps on getting better. You guys are at every single conference. Every single event you guys are making yourselves available to the adjusting community. Us as Home Safe Claims can basically attest that iink is a game changer. So thank you guys for everything that you guys do and continue to do and I know that you guys are going to continuously enhance this this process and with new services and features you guys will be offering.
Ryan: Well Rodrigo and Eduardo, thank you so much for spending some time today.