October 16, 2012 by Suzanne Sharma
Company: GUS Group
President: Pierre Bedard
Year Founded: 1991
# of Employees: approximately 3,600
Public or Private: Private
In 1991, Doris Landry felt there was an opportunity in Quebec for experienced post-disaster restoration experts, and so Group Urgence Sinistre (GUS) Group was born. GUS Group is a family-owned franchise system, allowing business owners to set up independent shops under the GUS umbrella with co-branding as an option for established companies. In 2009, GUS began its national expansion and now services Ontario and Alberta. The company focuses on restoring properties ranging from small residential to multimillion-dollar commercial buildings.
Reason to Watch
In June 2012, GUS launched its Client Care Package with its insurance partners, a program designed to maximize the level of communication between the insured and contractor. The program went through a four-month trial, which found unnecessary calls from the insured to adjusters and brokers were reduced by 20%.
“In this industry there seems to be a typical separation of information regarding next steps between contractor and insured,” says Steven Chin, executive vice president. “We wanted to design a program that made our franchisees more accountable with guaranteed communication and satisfaction levels.”
There are four steps to the program. The Workmanship Guarantee matches the insurance company’s guarantee for restoration work. For example, GUS has a standard two-year warranty program, but if the insurer offers five years, GUS will match it.
The Satisfaction Program allows insureds to voice any concerns by calling or emailing GUS’s head office. Within 24 hours they will receive a response, including contact details of the employee assigned to their case. Next, the GUS employee has a 48-hour window to respond to the insured and discuss next steps.
The Communication Log is given to the insured on a daily basis and specifies what work was completed that day, what is pending and who will be in next.
Finally, the Certified Contractor Program is a background check on every GUS employee and third-party sub-contractor. Anyone that enters an insured’s property is required to wear an ID badge, which includes a verification number. The insured can enter that number on a dedicated website to confirm if the individual has been authorized and approved to represent GUS Group on their property.
We wanted to design a program that made our franchisees more accountable with guaranteed communication and satisfaction levels.” – Steven Chin, executive vice president, GUS Group
Last year, GUS launched a free, bilingual after hours call program to their broker partners. Already successful in Quebec, with over 125 brokers on the program, it provides brokers an option for their after hours needs.
The Chrono Plan is also available to insurance companies and brokers. It guarantees that once an emergency has been received through the GUS toll free line, the insured will be contacted within 17 minutes or the initial emergency call is free.
As a company that is new in many markets and plans to continue growing, Chin says one obstacle is recognition. One way GUS is overcoming this is by marketing aggressively and strategically, including through their monthly newsletter, the GUS Xpress. With over 2,000 recipients, it includes industry-specific information, such as technology tips and current events.
GUS spans 235 outlets in Quebec, 17 in Ontario, two in Alberta and this month it opened its first location in New Brunswick. However, the company does not plan to stop there. Within five years, GUS has a goal to be a national restoration company, with locations in every province and region. Chin says the company will map out areas that have opportunities and then fill those needs.
La Fondation was established by GUS to help families that are underinsured during a loss. Since its launch a decade ago, the organization has raised over $300,000, and this year its goal is to expand outside of Quebec.
865 Alexandre Street, suite 200, Levis, QC, G6V 7M5
Copyright 2012 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the June 2012 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine.
This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.