We Convert Symbility Estimates into Xactimate Estimates
We’ve written a number of supplemental estimates over the years on Symbility adjuster estimates. It entails converting the adjuster’s estimate into an Xactimate® estimate, then adding the missing items he or she left out. But this article isn’t about how good we are about finding missing items for supplements (if you’re interested in that, please check out our posts “Supplement Insurance Claim Roofing Estimates with These 9 Missing Items” and “How to Supplement an Adjuster’s Xactimate® Repair Estimate“). Instead, this article is about the pricing differences we have found in Symbility and Xactimate estimates.
What is Symbility?
If you’re not familiar with Symbility, it’s an estimating platform conceptually similar to Xactimate. However, it has subtle differences in line item descriptions and formatting, and major differences in pricing. The latter (pricing differences) would seem to be the biggest reason some insurance carriers have switched over to Symbility from Xactimate (most recently Liberty Mutual). And we get it; if you’re an insurance company looking to settle a claim for less, then you’re most certainly going to do that.
Which results in a higher estimate — Symbility or Xactimate?
So just how much less is Symbility pricing as compared to Xactimate pricing? Our experience has found that, on average, an exterior storm damage estimate originally written in Symbility will end up totaling 15 to 20 percent more when converted to Xactimate using the same or similar line items.* In other words, an Xactimate estimate ends up totaling 15 to 20 percent more, on average, across the board. Now, this data relates primarily to roofing, gutters, siding, paint, stain, etc, and some of the individual line item pricing under those trades may actually be higher in Symbility than in Xactimate. However, overall, Xactimate usually comes in higher. In fact, we haven’t seen a Symbility to Xactimate conversion yet that results in an estimate totaling less.
A recent case study of a project we completed for a client in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, area, found that a roof composed of approximately 38 squares totaled $15,587.16 in Symbility (see fig. 1). That same roof totaled $18,514.04 when converted to Xactimate (see fig. 2). That’s an increase of more than 18%! And that increase doesn’t even include all of the missing items we added with detailed justification notes, which legitimately took the supplemental estimate even higher to $21,766.75. In short, it pays more to use Xactimate if you’re a contractor. And if you’re an insurance company? Well, it may pay more to use Symbility — just not in the long run after you’re hit with Xactimate conversions and supplements that utilize more appropriate rates and unit costs.
|Fig. 1: The total of the original Symbility estimate is only $15,587.16 (click image to enlarge)||Fig. 2: The total of the estimate converted to Xactimate is $18,514.04 (click image to enlarge)|
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If you’re in need of an estimate conversion from Symbility to Xactimate, or any type of supplemental estimate, please Contact Us today. We would love to work with you and help capture more revenue on all of your insurance-claim-related projects. We are waiting for your call!
*Not all line items in Symbility are estimated in the same manner in Xactimate, and vice versa. For example, a rain diverter for a roof is estimated by the linear foot in Symbility, whereas it is estimated by the each in Xactimate. Therefore, certain adjustments are sometimes needed to achieve the same scope of work across the two platforms.
What is substantially different between Xactimate and Symbility is the labor pricing not the materials. Sure, you can have material differences especially in lieu of spikes in material pricing. However, absent some sort of shortage/demand issues such as what happened very quickly with lumber prices, one will find that both systems are pretty accurate when it comes to basic materials. Shingles, felt, drip, vents, starter and such are all generally pretty close regardless of the system.
However, the big difference is in the labor charges. I’ve seen both and have written estimates in both.
Xactimate, in Miami, Florida, when typing RFG LAB shows a labor rate at $225 per man house. The overhead component of that price is over $190 per man hour. A plumber billed rate is $135 per hour, an electrician billed rate is $95 per hour.
Xactimate, in Ohio, when typing RFG LAB shows a labor rate at $161.25 per hour. $23 per hour is the worker’s wage, $14.00 is what Xactimate calls Burden which is basically benefits, then the OVERHEAD is $125 per man hour. Keep in mind, there’s not a penny for materials.
Symbility in the same area shows the billable labor rate at $62.00 per hour with no specific breakdown. However, if you use the Xactimate Labor/Burden pay rate of $37.00 per hour, it leaves $25.00 per man hour in Symbility under the overhead category.
All I know is that on the retail side of things is that if I am not dealing with insurance, it is very difficult selling jobs at Xactimate prices and bids are undercut all the time.
Frankly, both systems IMO are off. Xactimate is very high even when you start looking at worker’s comp rates that range from $9 to $15 per $100 of payroll. Conversely, $62 per hour does not seem to be a viable billable rate either. It makes me really question who, how and by what method these “systems” are gathering pricing data. The person who is up on the roof installing is not making a killing.
However, the sales person or company owner seems to be getting a disproportionate bounty. The other thing that really hits a company bottom line is when the roofing company is “upgrading” without charge or not collecting deductibles. If you “credit” a $500 deductible that is $500 that’s been taken out of the contractor’s bottom line. If one “upgrades” from a 3 tab shingle to a dimensional and the cost difference per square is $10-15 per square, that’s another $200-$300 that the contractor gave away. Change to synthetic felt and there is some more leakage.
What happens if an insurance company refuses to accept Xactimate pricing, and will only pay out based off their symbility estiamte?
Gavin, we know of no insurance policies that state, “We settle losses based on [name of estimating platform] pricing only.” Keep in mind that Xactimate and Symbility are just tools, especially for insurers. If one of those platforms says a sheet of plywood is $38.00 but the only supplier in the area is selling it for $84.00, then the insurer should adjust for that. If the insurer won’t do that and instead wants to dictate pricing, then they need to be able to back it up (i.e. source contractors willing to do the work for their pricing). If that’s not happening, then there are options the insured has to try and remedy the situation (i.e. go to the appraisal process, file a complaint with the department of insurance, contact an attorney, etc). Feel free to call us if you’d like to discuss anything about your estimate in particular.
I have a project (my own house…roofing and siding) that I used Xactimate to price while the insurance company (Safeco) used Symbility. Using the Insurance company’s exact line items and measurements, my (Xactimate’s) quote is $47,500 while the insurance company’s quote is approximately $29,000. Safeco refuses to honor the Xactimate pricing, even though their material cost is less than cost. Any advice or remedy? I am in the fortunate position where I do not have to consult a homeowner to move the needle, but beyond filing a legal dispute, I don’t know where I should strike first.
Sorry to hear that, Isaiah. Give us a call sometime and we can discuss.
Does Symbility show as Xactimate does, the description of what each line item includes? If Symbility is leaving out items which Xactimate includes in their cost, wouldn’t the carrier need to add those items in in order to be fair to the insured? For instance on a roof Xactimate includes the cost of nails. Does Symbility also include nails? Seems like more work to me.
Is their a free demo of Symbility that we would be able to look at and compare to Xactimate?
Does Symbility change their pricing each month to keep up with the average pricing of materials for a specific area?
Are the labor cost similar to Xactimate?
I would like to have an symbility estimate converted to xactimate estimate