ASCR discusses profit and overhead issues at annual meeting
The Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration held its annual convention in Philadelphia, Sept. 8-11. Topics ranged from strategic business advice to the use of microscopic dampness detectors to find potential spots for mold growth in cleaned and restored buildings.
The topic that garnered the most attendance - and debate - was a presentation on profit and overhead payments to restoration contractors from insurance companies. Rusty Amarante, chairman of the ASCR Restoration Council, vented briefly about insurance company practices before introducing Arthur Herold, an antitrust attorney, and Dr. Paul Clyde, a professor at the University of Michigan Business School.
The question-and-answer period following the panel's presentation was heated. Some of the more serious charges leveled against the insurance companies were those made by Brian Spiegel of Spiegel Certified Restoration in Montclair, Calif. He called insurance companies' practices "tantamount to price-fixing," and accused them of using lists of preferred vendors who would do the work for minimal cost.
Amarante announced that ASCR would meet with the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice to start a dialog; compile guidelines of services to be used to calculate profit and overhead; schedule meetings with the insurance companies to let them know ASCR's side of the story; and hold ongoing seminars on the issue.