Flat Roof Supplements

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In some markets, residential flat roofs are a large percentage of total housing stock, while in other markets flat roofs are less common. In either case, flat roofs are an opportunity to grow your roofing business. Installing a flat roof involves a much different process than installing a pitched roof or sloped roof. Understanding the key differences between flat roofs and sloped roofs can ensure that you are bidding the jobs correctly. This is especially true for storm restoration or insurance work.

Frequently Asked Questions about Flat Roof Supplements

What are Flat Roof Supplements?

A flat roof supplement is when a contractor asks for additional materials, labor, or trades to be added to the insurance claim for a flat roof job. An adjuster may not include enough modified bitumen, base sheets, ply sheets, fasteners, termination bars, cant strips, flashing, pitch pans, scuppers, etc. to get the job done correctly. In some cases, these missing items are required by local building codes or other historical preservation regulations. When this happens, a contractor writes a new Xactimate Estimate to include those missing items and submits it to the insurance company for approval. Contractors must also include supporting documentation such as photos, measurements, local code requirements, core sample results, and invoices to explain why these funds are needed.

Why should I supplement Flat Roof Jobs?

The answer is simple: to get paid what you deserve. Many adjusters are simply not very knowledgeable when it comes to estimating a flat roof job. When this happens, adjusters often select the cheapest materials in Xactimate, which may not be correct material at all. Flat roof systems require specific components and materials that are not the same as slope roofs, and oftentimes these flat roof components are more expensive than their slope roof counterparts. An inexperienced insurance adjuster will likely rely more heavily on the contractor’s input and expertise when settling a supplement, meaning that you as the contractor are in the driver seat on getting the correct RCV approved.

What is a Core Sample on a Flat Roof?

A core sample is a process in which a contractor bores or drills out a 2 inch diameter hole in a flat roof, from the top layer to the deck, in order to see how many layers of roofing material exist. Core samples are critical to establish how much tear off labor should be included on the Xactimate estimate and, when documented correctly, it is very difficult for the adjuster to deny those funds. Core Samples are typically taken with a tool called a Core Cutter. Core cutters can be manually operated or can be attached as a drill bit and range in price from $50-$200. Example of manually operated core cutter. Example of power drill core cutter.

How many of my flat roofing jobs should I supplement?

If your job involves a flat roof, you should supplement for it. Supplementing flat roof jobs is all about consistency and process. Having a standardized process for more thorough inspections makes it easier to determine if an insurance job requires a supplement and makes it easier to file one. The best way to do this is to give your sales reps very clear rules on how all flat roof inspections are performed. Top contractors use inspection checklists and photo checklists to make sure they correctly document all of the damage and materials required to install the job. Besides the adjuster’s inexperience (mentioned above), flat roofs have common code upgrades, safety requirements, and material quantity considerations, and material delivery. Starting in 2006, the standard building code for flat roofing required insulation board to be installed as part of the layered system. There may also be local, or even neighborhood historical preservation standards, particularly with ornamental parapet walls. Safety barriers are a major concern for flat roofs as, unlike slope roofs, there can be various access openings or skylights that become hazardous if not well marked. Proper safety barriers around access areas as well as the perimeter can be approved citing OSHA safety standards. There are also safety considerations involved in getting the material onto the flat roof itself. Modified Bitumen or rolled roofing can weigh anywhere from 70-200 pounds per roll. The material and equipment required to install a flat roof system will likely require a boom lift or hoist to safely deliver the material. Another material consideration is the quantity increments involved in rolled roofing. As the name suggests, modified bitumen comes in rolls which are typically sold in increments of 100 feet. Therefore if you need 1 additional square of cap, you will need to purchase an additional roll, which the insurance company will have to approve.

When do I start supplementing a flat roof job?

There are two different times you can submit a flat roof supplement: Pre-Production (before the install) and Post-Production (after the install, before depreciation is released). The optimal way to supplement a flat roof job is to file both Pre-Production and Post-Production supplements on insurance flat roofing jobs. Doing so results in 2-4 times more supplement dollars approved per job and higher approval rates overall. Pre-Production supplements should be written or sent to a supplementing company as soon as the full scope of loss is received from the adjuster. It can take the adjuster and carrier several days to settle these claims so you want to avoid scheduling an install if there are expensive Xactimate line items that have not yet been approved. Contractors that have good flat roof inspection processes tend to have the quickest turnaround times on Pre-Production supplements and also experience less scheduling issues. In addition to increased revenue and profit, Pre-Production supplements also can also benefit your business by improving cash flow on your jobs. Oftentimes, when a Pre-Production supplement is approved, the carrier will send an additional ACV check to the homeowner for the additional line items on the revised estimate. Flat roofs are very difficult to perform emergency repairs, so insurance adjusters may be incentivized to approve a flat roof supplement quickly in order to mitigate additional damage to the interior.

Should I hire a company to supplement my flat roof jobs?

There are many reasons why it makes sense to hire a 3rd party to supplement your flat roof jobs. The number one reason is that many roofing contractors do not have a lot of experience writing flat roof estimates or how to get insurance flat roofing jobs approved. Many insurance adjusters also do not have a lot of experience inspecting flat roofs or writing an accurate flat roof scope of loss. Another obvious reason is that contractors are too busy to write new Xactimate Estimates for all of their jobs. Or they’re simply not that good at writing supplements. This is especially true for contractors for whom flat roof installation is a small percentage of their overall work. For these contractors especially, a supplementing company can help ensure that newly hired sales reps are producing profitable flat roof jobs.

Even companies that have their own internal staff to write supplements may need a hand if a hurricane or 100-year hailstorm hits in their market. In this situation, you don’t have time to hire and train someone new, but a 3rd party insurance supplement specialist can easily step in and handle the overflow of claims. Legacy roofing & siding businesses that focus primarily in retail work sometimes have insurance jobs fall into their lap. At Elite Claim Solutions, we help these types of companies manage occasional insurance claims or even help them transition their business into becoming a storm restoration business. Lastly, we serve a lot of clients that are starting a new roofing & siding business. For new companies, the owner is typically out selling and wearing lots of other hats and simply does not have the capacity or knowhow to supplement insurance flat roof claims.

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Check out our blog posts dedicated to supplementing for roofing projects.

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