Since the start of 2020, the Aspray franchise network has benefited from new dynamism at a technical level, with franchisees taking their service to policyholders up yet another notch. A new training programme has enriched service delivery, reduced environmental impacts, and helped avoid unnecessary disruption and material wastage, whilst helping Aspray’s franchisees become some of the most knowledgeable and accredited in their sector.
The appointment of Anthony Baddeley, as National Network Support Manager created a step-change in Aspray’s already impressive training programme, providing overarching knowledge and technical support to all franchisees, whether they came from an insurance or property background. The timing of Anthony’s appointment was perfect, as it came just months before Covid-19 forced the network of loss assessors and property claims managers to work under new challenges. Classed as key workers, the franchisees were still able to enter insured customers’ homes or commercial premises, if they had a property insurance claim, but had to try to optimise the entire claims process, so that disruption and inter-person contact was minimised.
Anthony was instrumental in providing the insight franchisees needed, even though this has had to be delivered, as late as summer 2021, by largely virtual means only. The highly trained professional and qualified BDMA (British Damage Management Association) technician, with 23 years’ experience of insurance claims behind him, has delivered an enlightened network-wide training programme, within BDMA guidelines, and helped individual franchisees attain their BDMA qualifications.
Best practice has also been reinforced through training in standards such as BS: EN 1SO 9001 -2015 and PAS 64:2013 – a code of practice for the Mitigation and Recovery of Damaged Buildings.
The restoration of flood-damaged buildings has been a major focus for the network under the new training regime, with franchisees understanding the components of their advanced toolkit not just from a usage point of view, but in terms of interpreting what the various devices, such as state of art moisture meters, are actually telling them about the health of a building and how its health needs to be improved. This more intuitive approach has been delivered to new recruits through a two-day training session, through refresher training to existing and long-standing franchisees and through continual 24/7 support whenever a franchisee requires it by phone, email or video link.
Looking at water claims through a slightly different perspective has helped franchisees reinforce their recommendations during claims negotiations, providing more authority with which to argue that, in some cases, it is unnecessary and actually detrimental to do things such as destroy materials or structures that can be restored with advanced techniques. This has helped reduce the environmental impacts of claims and the time the homeowner has had to live elsewhere and has also been extremely beneficial from a resource point of view, given the national shortage of building materials.
Helping franchisees to think differently has been a key part of the new training regime, with this starting when the first scoping of works takes place. Through Anthony playing devil’s advocate and encouraging franchisees to question why they have made certain recommendations, he has encouraged franchisees to lead themselves towards new solutions, better restoration approaches and an optimal approach to the claim. Work has also taken place with regard to examining the validity of a claim in the first instance, so there is less chance of a franchisee wasting precious time in pursuing a claim for a policyholder, which the insurer will just refuse to consider.
Franchisees highlight how this valuable training has boosted their profitability and helped them to work more confidently and also fitter and leaner. With enhanced focus and knowledge, they can make every minute of their day count. With greater empowerment, they can take the lead in claims negotiations at a recommendations level and suggest technical solutions that are better for all parties in the claim.
The training programme has also been invaluable in terms of its health and safety impacts, helping franchisees to deliver continual best practice with regard to claims scenarios within which they could encounter hazardous fibres such as asbestos containing materials within the residential and commercial sectors. Appreciating how best to protect themselves and their client is another bonus and, with insight gained from leading names in the disaster restoration industry, the National Network Support Manager has wide-ranging advice to impart.
The scope of training has undoubtedly grown and changed complexion within the Aspray network in the past 20 months and Aspray franchisees are truly empowered and well-equipped because of it. All speak in glowing terms of the added value that Aspray’s creation of the brand-new role of National Network Support Manager has brought. The beneficial outcomes, profitability boosts and efficiencies are clear to see.
The bottom-line really, however, is that Anthony’s sole driver is to use training, knowledge delivery and best practice as a means to an end – a better customer service proposition and more power to the loss assessor’s elbow when it comes to helping franchisees negotiate a fair settlement, completely in line with their entitlement from the insurance cover they bought. This is the real impact of the huge amount of technical training that has been delivered. The longer-term result will be more referral business for Aspray’s franchisees and the ultimate realisation in the wider world that what they provide is not just a key worker service in the Government’s eyes but also a truly essential one in the consumer’s.