On the Scene with an SOS Property Specialist

I’ve always thought the role of our Service on Site (SOS) team was one of the more challenging jobs in the company – now I have new appreciation for the team after physically walking a claim with SOS team member, Sean Johnson.

The claim site was a residential house that had been deemed a total loss from a recent office fire – fortunately, no one was hurt and the family dog and two cats continued to roam the property. I arrived on Sean’s second day on site – he’d already spent the first day working with a Public Adjuster (PA) there to verify a couple of rooms that had been burned from site.

Today was Day Two. Sean had cautioned me in advance to wear old clothes and steel-toed boots — he equipped me with a mask and headlamp as the electricity had been turned off and a few areas were pretty dark even with the sunlight streaming in. The first room we worked on was a young girl’s bedroom which really affected me since I have a teenage daughter of about the same age who also has Justin Bieber and One Direction posters on the wall. Sean was incredibly methodical, working in a spiral in the room and dictating items by name, model or brand, and age. He pretty much left no item unturned, digging into closets and under the bed as well as noting items hanging from the wall and back of the door. Sean also impressed me with his knowledge of women’s brands, which he’s learned on the job – not many men can describe women’s shoes as “strappy sandals” or the material of a wedding dress accurately. Full disclosure – my husband is probably not clear on the difference between a skirt and a dress, making Sean all the more remarkable.

In addition to having to be incredibly observant and detail-oriented, you also need to be in shape to do this job. It is physically demanding from inhaling the chemicals and soot to essentially having to be on your feet all day, broken only by the need to climb around a closet or repeatedly squat down to sift through a drawer or pile of items. Sean took pity on me and broke for lunch but explained that usually he would work on through the day with no breaks to keep his rhythm.

One of the scarier moments occurred in the basement when the PA with us indicated an empty aquarium, mentioning that it had been the former home of a snake, that had escaped. For the rest of our time in the basement, I was convinced the missing snake was going to turn up – on me – dropping from the ceiling or slithering out of a closet to wrap itself around my ankle. Needless to say the snake had probably already found a new home far away from the loss site and never turned up.

While we didn’t work directly with the insured at this site, I can see why so many carriers see the Enservio Service on Site as a great customer service benefit for their insureds. I can’t imagine the stress of trying to recreate a list of what was in your home while the smoke (literally) is still clearing. In fact, many insureds, according to Sean, are ecstatic that he’s there to hold their hands through the process and only want to return to their home or office AFTER everything has been restored. Neighbors who have been through a similar experience frequently ask Sean which carrier he’s with, lamenting the fact that their carrier didn’t provide a similar service.

After five hours on site (Sean was still there when I left), I returned home sooty, sore, and smoky – (but thankfully, snakebite free) — convinced that serving on the SOS team is absolutely the hardest and most noble job at Enservio.