Since its inception in the late 1960s, National Group has been privately owned and operated. Peter Bookholt has developed the National Group to be an industry leader with one goal in mind: to serve its clients with the best possible performance in the industry. Over the decades, National Group has steadily grown into a diverse company serving a variety of clients. According to Peter, "We have seen nearly every type of loss imaginable and been able to provide valuable assistance to our clients." National Group's guiding principles of integrity, honesty, trust, hard work, and perserverance have always been firmly rooted at the core of the company.
By Eric Morgenthaler, The Wall Street Journal
Mar 23, 1993 | Copyright Dow Jones & Company Inc
While we have not sought out acclaim or recognition for our work, we have been recognized time and again for our hard work and service in the industry. For example, in 1993, Peter Bookholt was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal for his work after Hurricane Andrew.
MIAMI -- Thanks to Hurricane Andrew, the World Trade Center bombing and the Blizzard of '93, business is booming for people like Peter Bookholt.
Mr. Bookholt owns a Texas-based construction company, Larson & Associates, that specializes in mopping up after disasters. As Hurricane Andrew roared through here last August, he was in California, checking on work from the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the 1991 Oakland fire. Within days, he hopped a flight to Miami.
Now, the 48-year-old Mr. Bookholt has a team of about 30 full-time employees here. He expects between $12 million and $15 million of Andrew-related construction work this year. That is a drop in the bucket, set against the $15.5 billion that insurers now estimate Andrew may cost them, but it is significant for Mr. Bookholt's company, whose revenue typically runs in the neighborhood of $35 million a year. He predicts "probably 10 years' worth of work" from the hurricane.
Meanwhile, he already is talking with insurance companies about rebuilding from the blizzard and storms that battered much of the East Coast earlier this month. An insurance consulting firm he often works with, Hudson International Group, is overseeing the cleanup of Dean Witter's 30 floors of offices in the World Trade Center, although so far Mr. Bookholt hasn't picked up any business there. And today, Mr. Bookholt plans to be in Chicago, estimating the damage in a mosque fire.
Mr. Bookholt says demand for disaster work, which he combines with a more conventional construction business, is constant. "There are disasters going on all the time," he adds. "But they're often the little disasters you never see in the papers. A church burns down, an apartment complex catches on fire. It's a daily thing."
That thing has given rise to an industry that specializes in the peculiar needs of rebuilding after disasters. It is an amorphous group that ranges from part-time consultants to sizable corporations, many of whom have close ties to the insurance industry. It includes specialists -- in water-damage repair, for instance, or document restoration -- and generalists.
The size and shape of the industry are blurred because big disasters attract fly-by-night outfits and because many reputable building and repair concerns, while not specializing in disasters, do disaster-related jobs in the normal course of business. But lately the disaster trade has been put under the spotlight by a string of major tragedies.