Past RIA President Sam Bergman Gives Thoughts on Future of Restoration Industry and More
Samuel J. Bergman, CR, the executive vice president of FIRST ONSITE and a former president of the Restoration Industry Association (RIA) discusses the future of the restoration industry, how technology and new techniques have shaped restoration work, and why more restorers should get involved with the RIA.
What future challenges do you see the restoration industry facing in the next five to ten years?
Looking ahead, I think that the biggest challenge is that as our customers change to a more online, social media-based focus, we’re going to need to be much more responsive to the insured. We need to have the technology that will allow them to follow the restoration process on a simple app that can be loaded onto Android or an Apple devices.
How have the advances in technology and techniques shaped the restoration industry?
The industry used to be more of an art, but now our industry currently sits at the intersection of art and science. There are different technologies available that have changed over the years. For example, there is now technology that allows for 3D moisture mapping, which gives data almost instantaneously to the insured or the insurance company.
Where do you see the restoration industry in 2031?
I think it will follow where the auto industry is going. I think that the insured, when they have a loss, are going to be able to go on online, whether it's through a desktop or handheld device, and be able to see reviews and communicate directly with a restoration contractor. I think there will be less interaction with third-party administrators and field adjusters for insurance companies. I think the insured will be dealing directly with adjusters and the insurers themselves and less with third-party administrators and adjusters on the street.
Why should more restorers get involved with the Restoration Industry Association?
First and most important, is you get to network with others that are within the industry. You get to share common ideas, to intellectually wrestle with new ideas, and collaborate and learn from each other. I think that kind of networking is probably the most important for members. Second, you can get involved with setting best practices and you get to make a difference in our industry. Third is the education that you can receive through the RIA.
Any advice for those wanting to do more with RIA?
It is very important for new members as they come in to find someone to be their mentor — their “big brother” or “big sister” — and to get involved on a committee. Get involved with initiatives and work your way up, because the more you give, the more you get back.
The more you learn, the more ideas you will have, which will allow you to better yourself as a restorer and better the company that you are working for. You can try to chair a committee and if you cannot chair a committee, you can try to get on a task force or become a board member. And you never know if that board member may become the next president of the organization— and then you can really make a difference for our entire industry!