I returned yesterday to one of my childhood hometowns, Panama City, Florida, to give the opening speech at the Tenth Annual Conference of the Coalition of Insurance Responders (CDR). A year ago, I spoke at this conference and noted in The Coalition of Disaster Responders Hits It Out of the Park

The Coalition of Disaster Responders (CDR) held its annual meeting at Captain Anderson’s in Panama City Beach. I love Panama City, Florida. I lived there in the 1970s when my father was the Captain of the Coast Guard Cutter Dependable. I am still a 35-year member of the St. Andrews Bay Yacht Club, which is down in “the Cove” of Panama City. I was honored to be CDR’s keynote speaker yesterday.

CDR is about quality restoration construction. It is not about the “how to get rich by leveraging up” propaganda that yields scamming sales pitches and inferior construction. Many restoration contractors get caught up in false hope. There is a big difference in the culture of quality and legal restoration work versus the scams of managed insurance repair networks and restoration gurus promising quick riches. I have run 38 marathons, and my six best times just above three hours came from slow starts and fast finishes. Doing things right takes time.

This conference was by invitation only. The CDR contractor conference was not about trying to make the convention owners big profits with false promises of quick riches that a contractor feels they will miss if not for attending the conference. The CDR conference was not about hearing from alleged ‘experts’ who are not the most reputable in the field but who ‘pay to play’ and get highlight spots at a conference. There were not the ‘hot beautiful model women’ hired by conference sponsors luring contractors into a false sense of ‘if you fail to follow our advice, you will lose out.’ A lot of convention restoration contractor conferences are marketed by people who never were super successful at quality restoration contracting but try to make themselves appear very successful to lure otherwise entrepreneurial and passionate contractors into giving up their money to them.

This conference was unlike other conferences where there is a not so subtle, ‘if you fail to sign up and do this, you will lose out’ type of deal. I heard contractors with tears give testimonies about other members coming to their aid. Other members freely gave of their time to help others through difficulties of getting a job done or a claim paid. There was discussion of family. There was no ‘high pressure.’ CDR did not entertain otherwise laughable non-experts placed on a ‘pay to play’ social media stage who did not deserve to be there.

They invited me back to speak again, and yesterday’s speech was “Would You Hire You?” This is something I ask lawyers in our law firm. It is certainly a challenge for those and me to grow and improve professionally and personally.  

I thought it was fair to interact with this group about the same topic. To make a point, I used an avatar policyholder, the president of a large condominium association. I asked the audience whether they had considered the fears, worries, hopes, and dreams of the person who was the president of the association. While not being completely accurate, I suggested that restoration contractors have genuine empathy for this person who may feel the following: 


  1. Incompetence: The president of the association may fear hiring a contractor who turns out to be incapable of executing the job efficiently and effectively. This could lead to further damage or extended repair time, causing inconvenience to and possible revolt of members.
  2. Financial Mismanagement: Fear of overspending or falling victim to a contractor who overcharges. The president is worried about the financial impact on the condominium association, especially if the insurance doesn’t cover all of the costs.
  3. Fraud: There’s always a fear of fraudulent contractors who may fail to complete the work after receiving payment.
  4. Legal Complications: The concern about potential legal disputes. This is not just with the property insurance carrier but cases of accidental damage to association property during construction or injury to the contractor’s employees or members and guests during the repair work.


  1. Timeline: What is the length of time the repairs might take? What is the track record of the contractor for doing work promptly? Will the members have to relocate during this period?
  2. Quality of Work: Ensuring the quality of work and materials used is another major worry, as substandard repairs could lead to more issues down the line. How will guarantees of quality work be honored? Who will decide if the work is “quality work?”
  3. Disruption: What is the disruption to members’ lives during the repair process? Are the members going to hate the president because the contractor does not care about the membership?


  1. Efficiency: Will the selected contractor complete the work efficiently, minimizing the disruption for residents and ensuring the building is safe and comfortable again as soon as possible?
  2. Transparency: The president hopes for a contractor who maintains transparency throughout the process, providing regular updates on the progress and costs and instilling a sense of trust in the Board.
  3. Professionalism: One big hope is to find a contractor who is professional, respectful, and easy to work with, fostering a positive working relationship. One who is proactive and considerate about the concerns of the president, association board, and members.


  1. Completion Without Issues: The ideal scenario is a smooth repair process where all damage is fixed without any further complications, within budget and timeframe.
  2. Enhanced Value: This situation is not just an opportunity to repair but also to improve the condominium, perhaps upgrading certain features which could enhance the property’s value. The perfect time to consider improvements is after a disaster.
  3. Stronger Community: This shared experience could potentially bring the community closer together, turning a challenging situation into an opportunity for strengthening relationships among association members. The president’s dream is to be seen as a hero for finding and helping select the perfect insurance restoration contractor.

For restoration contractors, would you be able to fulfill a thorough vetting process, including checking for references, verifying credentials, ensuring you are financially stable and can prove through past results that you can answer the fears and worries as well as fulfill the president’s hopes and dreams?

The great thing about the CDR is that its leadership wants people as members who will rise to this calling. They want to help members reach this level of excellence and professionalism. They want to make policyholders restored after the disaster and have relief from the misery they suffered.

Property insurance money softens the financial blow after a disaster. But there is nothing like having your home or business back to normal and thriving—only restoration contractors can do that. And that is why I love those contractors who passionately work to help policyholders that I have also dedicated my life’s work.

Thought For The Day

Your life will be no better than the plans you make and the action you take. You are the architect and builder of your own life, fortune, destiny.

—Alfred A. Montapert