Canada’s Most Promising Companies, 2022 June...

Encircle: Helping Restorers to Visually Document and Present High-Quality Reports to Insurance Carriers

Canada's Most Promising Companies, 2022

Encircle was founded in 2012 with the goal of setting a new standard for how property loss data is collected, appraised, and reported after a disaster. After working closely with the property insurance vertical during his tenure as a top executive at Blackberry, Paul Donald, Encircle CEO and co-founder, was shocked by the amount of distrust between insurance carriers, policyholders, and restoration contractors.

Restorers expected opposition on their billing; adjusters didn’t believe the paperwork supported the invoice; and policyholders expected to be disappointed in the settlement and the repair. Throughout the property claims procedure, Paul witnessed a staggering level of misunderstanding and misinformation. The situation grew worse as data needs became more stringent and thorough.

Encircle was created as an easy-to-use solution to bring confidence and transparency to the sector by capturing the facts from first notice of loss to claim closed. The mobile app allows field teams to instantly record details of the loss by taking photos, videos, notes, sketches, and more. These details are synced to the office in real-time, where it can then be quickly populated into dynamic reports, making it simple to convey to an adjuster and policyholder the whole narrative of the project. As a result, insurers and policyholders have access to detailed information that allows them to confidently settle claims, while restoration contractors get paid faster, spend less time on non-billable hours and reduce administrative overhead. Everybody wins!

Below are highlights of interview:

What makes the company such a trustworthy company for its customers?

Encircle is built with the vision of aligning restorers, adjusters, and policyholders around a single source of truth. Trust is one of our core values and it’s allowed us to become one of the industry’s most trusted brands. We embody this in all aspects of our business:

  • At its core, our product is designed to create trustworthiness for our customers in an industry marked with mistrust, apprehension, and skepticism. We help restorers capture indisputable facts about what happens on jobs to reduce the pushback and questioning associated with claims reporting; and we deliver transparency and insights for the adjuster so they can fully understand the job without having to set a foot on site.
  • Restorers’ and adjusters’ needs are at the forefront of our product design. Simply put, our platform is something people actually want to use and can rely on. Our customers, their needs, and their feedback are what shape our roadmap and our designs. We consistently deliver on our commitments to maintain their trust in us.
  • Our steadfast belief that restorers deserve choice—reporting formats should be mandated, not software tools. That’s further underscored by our open API to support integrations with the software platforms our customers choose.
  • Having one of the industry’s top experts on staff ensures the voice of the restoration contractor is captured every step of the way.
  • Regularly partnering with industry experts and thought leaders to deliver high-value resources to restoration contractors.
  • Encircle University (EncircleU), a learning management system designed to deliver high-value, on-demand training to restoration contractors. This not only helps them learn Encircle, but they can also earn recognized continuing education credits at no cost.
  • Prospects can trust what our customers say about us! In this industry, word of mouth travels fast and referrals are often sought out. Encircle is frequently recommended in industry social media groups.

Tell us about Paul Donald.

Paul Donald is an accomplished entrepreneur and technology executive with over 25 years of experience solving productivity issues with innovative technology. Before co-founding Encircle, he was the COO at PushLife, a mobile entertainment start-up acquired by Google in May 2011. Paul spent the previous decade on the senior executive team at BlackBerry and was also the founder and CEO of PeerDirect, which he sold to Progress Software in 1999. Paul is an active mentor, coach, and angel investor in Canada’s Technology Triangle.

Paul initially became familiar with the property insurance industry in 1989 when his then-roommate, and still close friend, was writing policy management software in their living room. Then again, during his tenure at BlackBerry, where the property insurance vertical was one of the organization’s most important market segments, he worked with several large insurers to build mobile apps to connect them with their third-party servicers and policy holders.

These experiences afforded him a front row seat to see the communication gap that existed between the lawyers, actuaries, and accountants that led the insurance companies, and their more tactile-oriented third-party servicers and policy holders. Essentially, Paul saw numerous examples of communication breaking down between parties. This inspired him—he wanted to fix it without anyone bending to their requirements or desire to simply do their job.

What are the company’s primary offerings, and what innovations are you aiming to incorporate?

The Encircle field documentation solution (FDS) offers restoration contractors and property insurance adjusters one comprehensive platform to connect both their field and office teams in real-time. This platform has two main components:

  • A mobile app for field users to easily document the work they complete on a job. It features:
    • Unlimited users per job
    • Online and offline usability
    • Residential or commercial losses
    • Photos, videos, notes, sketches, custom documents, and reports
    • Contents and water mitigation jobs
    • Automatic photo organization and labeling
  • A web-based app for office teams to build dynamic, professional reports with field data in just minutes.
    • Instant reports
    • Custom forms
    • Remote job visibility
    • KPI and milestone tracking
    • Detailed contents and moisture reports
    • Real-time syncing between the field and the office

Encircle’s position as a leader in automating field documentation processes will only grow as we look to incorporate leading edge visual and speech-to-text AI technologies as a way to drive even more efficiencies in workflow.

What kind of work culture does the company have?

Encircle’s company culture is what makes it remarkable. Its fast growth can be directly attributed to a passionate group of people who don’t accept “that’s just the way it is.” To describe the culture in a nutshell: it feels like you’re a part of something big.

Encirclers are truly passionate and energetic about the work we do. It’s a fast-paced, agile environment, and every milestone gets us excited—and jazzed for the next one. This hard work is also celebrated and rewarded with some great perks. Encirclers have self-managed vacation as well as generous allowances for continued learning, home office set up, and health and fitness activities. Encirclers also enjoy regular team building events, a work-where-you-work-best policy, as well as recognition and appreciation programs.

Beyond that, one of the best parts about Encircle’s culture is its transparency and openness. Team members are encouraged to ask anything; there’s no multi-layered hierarchy; executives remain accessible and proactively seek feedback. It creates collaboration and excitement.

What is the company’s long-term vision?

Encircle’s long-term vision is to be a strategic partner to the industry and provide a single source of truth for the property claims ecosystem – inclusive of restoration contractors, independent adjusters, TPAs, and carriers. Our ultimate goal is to solve the trust issues that exist between the parties involved in a claim by bringing transparency and data integrity to the job documentation process.