Property Damage Appraisers
Q&A With Property Damage Appraisers Executive Vice President Tom Slimak
PDA’s EVP offers insight into how the independent damage appraisal firm has carved out an enviable position in the franchise and insurance industries.
What makes PDA unique among damage appraisal firms?
To start, the strength of our technology is unparalleled. We have built all of our technology internally. It’s proprietary and not beholden to any other party, which means we can customize it to the exact specifications of our clients.
That technology has had an enormous impact on our cycle time. We’re down to 1.5 days on average, compared to the industry average of five days. Every day that a client has a piece of equipment down, they are losing money, so the reduced cycle time has a profound financial impact.
Technology is just one piece of what we’re doing differently — and better — than our competitors. Another big piece is the structure behind that technology, which allows us to have a uniquely wide field presence. We have 650 appraisers across the country, and each of them has different specialties. When we receive an assignment, no matter what it is, we have an optimizer tool that matches the assignment with the appraiser who is best equipped to handle the estimate..
How has PDA become a leader in its industry?
Over the years, we’ve developed and rolled out strategies and technologies that are crafted explicitly to meet the specific needs of our clients. In doing so, we’ve raised not only our standards but our clients’ standards. So, there are now huge segments of the market that won’t settle for anything less than what PDA — and only PDA — offers.
What are some of PDA’s most significant growth milestones?
I’ve been at PDA since 2011, and we’ve made major leaps forward in a short time span. We’ve added proprietary technology, systems and strategies that have changed what people expect from appraisers.
The same-day-service guarantee for specialty and heavy equipment is a major milestone for us. If someone has a piece of construction equipment that gets damaged, we can guarantee that we’ll have it inspected within 24 hours. That means that the insurance carrier who underwrites the equipment will know the status within a day, reducing downtime and getting people back to work quicker.
Another major milestone was the introduction of our hybrid franchise model. PDA has always had franchise locations, but in 2016 we introduced our first corporate store. Since then, we’ve expanded to 64 corporate store locations. We have a great mix of franchise and corporate locations, which allows us to really optimize our model. Plus, being on the front lines with our franchise owners allows us to see firsthand what challenges and opportunities they are facing, and we can work together to create new solutions and improvements.
What does PDA have planned for the years ahead?
We’ve got a definitive strategic vision for where we want to take the company over the next decade. One of the things we’re most excited about is an improved claims convergence process. Today, if a tree falls on your property and it damages your car, your house and your RV, that’s three different exposures, and potentially three different insurers. That means you would have three separate claims to file with three carriers. We can already send one person to appraise all three exposures and submit all three claims, but we’re going to make it even easier. We are building a process that will allow insurance carriers to automate with us so that they don’t have to manually send us assignments for each exposure. Instead, there will be one assignment that automatically files for all three carriers. We’re very close to rolling this out, and we think it’s going to be another game-changer.
Why should a franchisee candidate choose PDA?
Franchisees choose PDA because there is so much we can offer that our competitors can’t; namely, the vastly reduced cycle time, our nationwide coverage and service guarantees. By partnering with PDA, franchisees can use those tools to edge out the competition and dominate their markets.