From the November 2011 issue of Claims Magazine • Subscribe!

Speaking Of: Contents and Restoration Training

With Taylor W. Wells, Rainbow International

Claims spoke with Taylor Wells of Rainbow International about the key to churning out restoration professionals who are ready to tackle a range of jobs, from water damage to crime and trauma scene work so policyholders can get on with life as they know it, ask quickly as humanly possible.

What helps prepare restoration professionals for the job?
In a rapidly evolving industry, ensuring our front-line service professionals and franchise owners have the latest training is an important step towards meeting and exceeding the needs of both policyholders and their insurance providers.

To help damage restoration specialists prepare for real-life scenarios in the field, we maintain two training facilities, both of which provide hands-on experience in damage restoration, beginner and advanced training sessions, demonstrations for insurance professionals, and test-marketing of cleaning and restoration tools. All new franchise owners come to Rainbow’s corporate headquarters in Waco, Texas for several weeks of intensive training. Jack’s House helps students learn water damage cleanup and restoration techniques, processes, and equipment.

Basically Jack’s House is a 1,200 square-foot training ‘home’ built inside a 5,000-square-foot warehouse. It is equipped with its own heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, and a variety of other independent features designed to explore multiple restoration scenarios simultaneously.

Why does this classroom/hands-on hybrid approach work? 
Learning the restoration trade requires both. Book-smarts are terrific and necessary, but working hands-on with water damage in Jack’s House or fire and smoke damage in our other training facility gives students a much deeper appreciation of the nature of the job at hand. For instance, we regularly flood and then restore the home.

During the hiring process, do you lend more credence to a certification or experience?
Certifications are critical. We require that all service professionals be proficient and accredited in the types of jobs they perform. That being said, someone with years of practical knowledge and experience (what we might refer to as field work) also brings tremendous value to the jobsite. We feel that certifications and practical experience are equally important in the hiring process.

You mentioned a fire/smoke facility. Can you tell us more about that and the overall training program offered?
This latest training innovation provides an opportunity for our students to build upon their knowledge base obtained in water damage restoration as they prepare to tackle multiple-scenario jobs. Inside a climate-controlled multi-room scenario simulator, students interact with experienced instructors, learning the latest techniques in fire and smoke damage restoration. Different types of rooms (kitchens, bathrooms), burn materials (organic, inorganic) and surfaces (tile, paint, stucco) are covered as students learn to apply classroom knowledge to jobsite application. Students also gather for individual instruction at fully equipped work stations to cover fire and smoke damage restoration techniques for specific business and household items.

New franchise owners also receive a week of specialized business training. These classes cover a range of topics, including public relations and social media, business development, software use, and marketing.

How does this tie in with gaining proficiencies in contents claims handling?
Contents cleaning and restoration was a natural by-product of offering fire and smoke damage cleanup and restoration services. It is essential to be able to provide owners of residential and commercial properties, along with their insurance providers, turn-key solutions whenever possible.

We understand that valuable possessions, irreplaceable family treasures and retail inventory are a critical component of many damage restoration jobs. A comprehensive content restoration system can be designed to help return items to pre-damage condition. Often, this means we can help save items previously considered unsalvageable. This saves policyholders time and emotional distress while minimizing expenses for the insurer.

Successful content restoration can help ensure significant cost-savings over item replacement, not to mention the loss of items no amount of money can cover. It is important to constantly evaluate leading and emerging technology, equipment, processes and training to ensure that damaged items are handled in the most responsible and professional manner possible and can be salvaged when possible.

At Rainbow, the equipment and methods used are determined by an expert inspection of the items in question, including materials, composition, durability, type of damage entailed, and known reaction to specific restoration processes.

Do you have advice pertaining to the insurer-restoration professional partnership?
Customer service is the focus of everything here. We see both insurance providers and their policyholders as our customers and strive to do all we can to meet and exceed the expectations of both. Logistics is also a critical component of the relationship. The automation of processes, new technology and systems, particularly in the realm of contents restoration, is a great step towards enhancing relationships between the restorer and insurance professional. Working together, the two can help ensure a higher level of customer service for the home or business owner, a benefit to all parties involved.

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