Episode 9 of Taco ‘Bout It Season 2 brought the heat with Balance and Troy Clymer, one of the Co-Founders, who joined Michael Gogan this week to talk about The Catalyst Group, World Famous Chris’s Tacos, and everything you need to know about Balance Claims to better your business.
Who Is Balance Claims and Troy Clymer?
Balance, a six year old company, started as a brand called Solutions For Insurance Consulting in 2013 and in 2015 they rebranded to Balance. They operate under a number of DBA’s — Balance, Balance Claims, and the Balance Marketplace.
Clymer comes from outside the space. “My business partner Eric Hepler, who’s our CEO, have worked together for nearly 20 years now,” he said. “We come from big, conglomerated HR software and did senior leadership for a lot sales organizations there.”
The pair had a mutual friend who was a student of Clymer’s in an MBA class he was teaching whose father was a second generation roofing contractor in Indianapolis, Indiana and Balance Claims is headquartered in Indianapolis. Since then, Balance has grown considerably.
“We’re now the largest third-party administrator in the United States for contractors,” Clymer said. “We’ve got around 40 W‑2 employees, a little over 7,000 brick and mortar office space where over 30 of our 40 employees work at every day.”
Balance does a lot of things that are in the vein of business process outsourcing for contractors. That includes Xactimate and Symbility estimating for any type of property casualty line, exterior, water, fire, and anything really, they’ve got you covered. They do a ton of commercial estimating as well. Balance works with a lot of public adjusting firms and law firms in the country and boast over 500 contractor clients at the current, which makes them one of the largest, most significant player in this space.
“We also work very closely with those that people would call ‘competitors’ that would call ‘friends,’ some of the other top five players in our niche and so we get into all kinds of business process outsourcing services,” Clymer said. “These services include system recommendation, management consulting, or different administrative projects around their front office and back office — we really do it all.”
Balance is sort of a one-stop shop for contractors, and led them to working very closely with CompanyCam and several other leading vendors in the space three years ago to create The Catalyst Group.
In addition to leading Balance, Clymer is also the elected President of the board at The Catalyst Group, which has become the most affluent and public non-profit for this industry. It has 40 of the leading brands, CompanyCam, Balance, and even our biggest competitor, SFY, included.
On top of that, Clymer is a board advisor for the American PolicyHolders Association and I’m quite involved there with Doug Quinn and my role on that board is to sort of function as the Chief Operating Board Advisor there.
The Importance of an In-House Supplementing and Estimating Department
“It’s mission critical that clients in the contracting space that are working with Balance or any other outsourced third-party administrators have an in-house capacity,” Clymer said.
He believes that at Balance if they’re seeing all the files a contractor has and they’re a mature company, that can be a problem. A majority of the customers Balance works with need coaching. Clymer wanted to mention his good friend John Dye of Art of The Supplement, who puts on a great class for setting up your internal supplementing department. Dye is also based out of Indianapolis and works closely with Balance and Clymer so they can get the points across as to why it’s important to set up your own estimating and supplementing department.
“Doing it in-house doesn’t mean you have to do it all, but you should be doing some percentage of that in-house,” Clymer said. “Typically at Balance a healthy balance (no pun intended), we’re handling about 40 – 60% of your workload. That changes as you go through the lifecycle of your company.”
If you’re a brand new organization and you’re very small you need to focus on sales in the first year or two to get things launched. It might be important to outsource a large percentage of that — maybe 100% of that — to get off the ground. A lot of Balance clients do that. Balance has the capacity somewhere around 10,000 residential claims, and another three to four thousand commercial claims on top of that, but Balance is teaching all of their customers how to set up their own internal departments to handle this as their business grows.
“Our number one goal is to educate the marketplace,” Clymer said. “That’s why we formed The Catalyst Group with great companies like CompanyCam. And you can check all of the information out at thecatalystgroup.co. There are 40 of the best vendors in the space working together to educate contractors on how to improve their business in a non-intimidating, non-salesy environment.”
How Balance Can Help Your Business
Balance allows you to focus on selling, building, building. Their team will communicate with every step of the way right inside your softwares. CompanyCam is a good example. If you’re a contracting company and you have a CRM like JobNimbus, Hover, JobProgress, a measurement account — whatever it may be — you will want to set Balance up as a user inside those accounts.
“These systems work so closely with us that they will comp your user cost for us to be in there,” Clymer said. “And then we really do all the administrative work for you. That’s the real value.”
Clymer goes on to explain that what Balance has found out is that it’s not just the return they can get you on 1 – 3 supplements, it’s having a partner like Balance that has been in business long enough, has the scale, the systems, and the processes to take on hundreds of files off your plate over the course of a year and manage them to a standard that will give you high customer service.
“When people ask me what we do I never answer with, ‘oh, we’re a supplementing or estimating company,’” Clymer said. “What we are is a customer service organization for general contractors that gives you a business process outsource, which handles all the administrative workload around your files.”
What Contractors Can Do To Minimize Turnaround Time and Maximize Increases
“The most important thing is having a complete file,” Clymer said. “Balance is working in your systems, so if you just tag is in a photo on CompanyCam, or another software, we’ll go in, extract those files.”
Clymer said if you don’t have a CRM or CompanyCam account, they’ll work with you through email, Dropbox, or Google Drive — which is a little more clunky — but it does work. What you can do as a contractor to get things organized and speed things up on your end if you’re doing all of this in-house or if you’re using an outsourcer like Balance is to have a complete file. What that includes is coverage that is already committed from the carrier and all of your scope notes from the job. Balance provides a punch list and an exterior/interior damage survey. Whatever you use to document the job site, they want access to that report. The third thing is your story. One of the most important things is managing the relationship with the property owner, whether it’s commercial or residential. You want them to understand why you need to collect all of this data and why sometimes the insurance carrier might miss things.
And finally, the most important thing you can do, according to Clymer, is to take a lot of photos.
“Documentation of the loss is the most important thing an outsourced company wants so they can help get your estimate bill and get it supplemented,” he said. “And if you’re doing that in-house it’s even more important.”
Balance Claims as well as several of their partners put out a lot of information about this and are working together to educate the marketplace on how to effectively use CompanyCam, which Clymer says is the gospel for taking photos.
“At Balance we force CompanyCam on our clients,” Clymer said. “We tell them that they have to use CompanyCam and if they’re not set-up we give them 30 days for free and CompanyCam will follow up to get you set up and trained.”
Balance wants their clients using CompanyCam because what it allows you to do is take a plethora of photos that you can annotate and it organizes them up into the cloud into a job file that you can just share with Balance.
“When we create your estimate we’re also going to create a photo report from CompanyCam,” Clymer said. “People ask how they can submit their photos to the carrier. They don’t want your 80 .jpegs right?”
It’s hard to embed photos, but there’s a feature in CompanyCam that with one click it produces a photo report. At Balance, when they produce a forensic Xactimate estimate they do it in your brand, look, and feel. They do this with a coinciding photo report from CompanyCam. Clymer said that method is best practice and is surely becoming industry standard.
There’s a really good checklist of what photos to take that goes through what photos to take and why. The ‘why’ is the most important part. If your crews and sales guys don’t understand the why, they won’t take the photos.
Huge thanks to Troy Clymer and Balance Claims for joining us this week on Taco Bout It!
Stay tuned for more episodes and blogs this season.