It isn’t easy for an adjuster or broker to select the best company to perform contents restoration. When they are faced with an insured’s fire damage, smoke damage, water damage or the myriad of challenges that attend the damage brought about by an unrelenting storm, everyone knows the contents pros will arrive, clean the site, pack out some items and restore them in their contents processing facility and will bring them back in pre-loss condition.

But what happens when there aren’t enough available funds to restore all the valued items?

That is when an experienced team can make a massive difference.

So the first questions for the contents company you are about to choose is, how many jobs, like the one before you, have you completed? What is the protocol you use when preparing an estimate, and scope of work?

How do you find out which items are of great emotional attachment and which are of great monetary value?

What sort of reports can we expect? Do you have a photo inventory that we can see at any time during the assignment?

How do you give priority to various parts of the job? And what is your track record with such items?

Have you worked with us before? What were the results? Perhaps you could tell them of a past case history where something went wrong and the contents team had to solve the challenge – but couch it as a question, “What would you do if…?”

A good Contents Manager will have a cogent answer, based on training and experience.

They don’t have to own the latest (most expensive) contents restoration equipment, but they do have to be competent with the ones they have (we would much prefer to work with men and women who know what they are doing as opposed to ones who own, but have no idea how to use, extraordinary technology).

And don’t simply ask about their mechanical skills, find out a little about how they interact with your insureds. Will they help to alleviate your problems, or are there a few red flags with past customers that tell you there might be a few long nights ahead?

And above all, how do they communicate – with the insured, with you, with members of their team?

If you or the insured ask, “Can you find my green snow globe for me?” and they answer, “Oh yeah, I think I saw that in the bedroom, but we packed it up and it’s probably in the warehouse by now,” that is not a proper answer.

If they say, “Let me check for you,” look at their inventory report iPad, then add, “Yes, here it is. It was on the dresser in the master bedroom. It’s in storage at our cleaning facility, awaiting processing

“I can have it here shortly,” you have a pretty good indication of where they job is headed.