Quantcast
Jump to content


For those fighting to get the proper compensation from insurance co.


Recommended Posts

For those with bodyshops, here is some interesting reading:

http://www.bodyshopsolutions.com/WordPress/?p=111

 

John Shortell

I’ve taken a part time job working at an independent body shop close to my home writing estimates and supplements and harassing insurance companies. I’ve been at it for a few months now and up until recently I haven’t seen or heard from a Progressive appraiser. Finally, several weeks ago, I had a customer who was hit by one of Progressive’s insureds. Because I’m in a different area of the state now, I’m unfamiliar with the local appraisers. More importantly, they are unfamiliar with me. What fun!

 

First let me admit that I was spoiled working at a high line dealership body shop. Those evil rich drove nice new cars that demanded nice new OEM parts. Now all I see are Honda’s and Hyundai’s. Old ones at that. I’ve never seen so many junk cars in my life. But I guess the poor have to drive too.

Anyway, I had a customer who was hit by a Progressive insured. I wrote an estimate and asked the customer to make arrangements to meet the Progressive appraiser here at my shop. Progressive people hate that. They’d rather look at the vehicle somewhere else. Any where I am not. When the Progressive appraiser showed up I knew there would be trouble. He looked to be about 12 years old. He fit Progressive’s archetype for their ideal appraiser: young, naive and no experience in the collision repair industry.

His estimate was several hundred dollars less than mine. No surprise there. But it was a small repair, and that several hundred dollars amounted to about 30% of my estimate. Of course, the labor rate was an issue, but what really got me wound up with this moronic “blend within the panel” crap. I basically told the kid he could take his “blend within the panel” and have his first sexual experience with it. I wasn’t going to accept it. There were some other issues too, and it all added up to the 30% deficiency. I was beginning to lose my cool because this prepubescent putz couldn’t figure out how to meet my bottom line, so I told him to do what a lot of other appraisers do: make something up and put it on the estimate. Of course, I was being sarcastic, but being so young, this kid didn’t understand the sarcasm and took offense to my suggesting he commit fraud. Well at least the kid is honest.

I asked the kid for his appraiser’s license number and the name of his supervisor and explained that I would be filing a complaint with the insurance department, which I did immediately after he left (And don’t we all know how effective that was). I told the customer not to worry about the difference–I would take care of it. I had her sign a repair authorization, a direction to pay and a power of attorney in case I had to sue the bastards. Working at a dealership I never had the opportunity to sue an insurance company because the owner didn’t want the trouble, but now that I’m working at a small independent shop, the owner is willing to go after insurers who don’t play nice.

I spoke with the kid’s supervisor over the phone about the situation. For the record, she was very pleasant, just like talking to sweet high school girl. I didn’t meet her in person, but by the sound of her voice she was another Progressive clone–too young and inexperienced in anything to be dealing with these issues. But she promised to look into it. I knew I was wasting my time, and I was. After three days of haggling, the young girl managed to come up with another hundred dollars. She was still a couple of hundred short. I explained to her that I was going to sue her insured for the balance. She responded with a perky “OK” like I had just asked her if she wanted to go hang out at the mall. She was trained to perfection. Great job Progressive behavior modification department!

With little effort I was able to locate the guy who hit my customer and promptly mailed him the following letter:

Dear Mr. XXXXX,

On November 29, 2007 you were involved in an accident with XXXXXX, damaging her Honda Civic. Mrs. XXXX brought her vehicle to us for repairs. Your insurance company, Progressive, refused to pay the amount needed to properly repair Mrs. XXXXX vehicle. Mrs. XXXXX has given us her Power of Attorney and we are collecting the remaining balance directly.

The total repair cost was $xxxxx, but Progressive has only agreed to pay $xxxx. Your insurance company has left you owing us $xxx. Your liability insurance is supposed to cover all damages up to your coverage limit, but ultimately you are responsible for any damages not covered by your insurer.

We have filed a complaint with the Connecticut Department of Insurance, and we suggest you do the same. If you need help filing the complaint we will be happy to assist you.

Progressive has already refused to pay the balance. If you do not pay the difference we will be forced to bring the matter to small claims court. Please contact us to discuss this matter, and for payment options. Our phone number is xxxxxxxxx.

Enclosed is a copy of our invoice, paperwork showing what Progressive is willing to pay, and a copy of the Power of Attorney signed by Mrs. XXXXX.

Sincerely,

John Shortell

A few days later I received a phone call from Mr. XXXX. He wanted to discuss the matter. I explained the situation to him in more detail, and he agreed to pay the balance owed and then deal with his insurance company. I again offered to help him in any way I could with filing a complaint with the insurance department or recovering the money from Progressive. He didn’t take me up on the offer, but he did send a check the next day. I’ve yet to hear from him or Progressive so I have no idea if he was reimbursed or not. I do know the gentleman was not too happy about having pay for repairs to someone else’s car after he had been paying premiums for liability insurance. Something tells me Mr. XXXX will be finding someone else to send his hard earned money to for insurance in the near future.

I fully expected to have to go to small claims court. I knew Progressive would not give in, and I never expected the insured to cough up the money so easily. I feel sorry for the poor bastard. But I’ll be damned if I will become a cheap whore just because Progressive is too profit driven to treat my customers fairly. It’s ironic. Progressive was started by a left wing socialist. The name Progressive is not a coincidence. This nut job and his dope smoking kid, who recently stepped down from running the company, preached the progressive movements dogma, and heavily funded many of its whacked out causes. Progressives are supposed to be more fair than the evil rich. They are supposed to care about the little guy and scorn the evil corporations, yet here they are now acting as bad as any corporation ever did. They only care about their profit and share holders. Kind of makes them big time hypocrites. Just my humble opinion.

Lesson learned? Never sell yourself short. If you’re going to be a whore, at least be a high priced whore. Stand up for yourself. Had I gone to court, I most certainly would have won. It is astonishingly easy to demonstrate to a judge how labor rates are artificially suppressed by insurers, how they manipulate the system for their corporate financial gain, and that they will do just about anything to save a buck. To be fair, I would probably do the same if I worked for Progressive or another insurance company. It is all part of their survival. When your cat eats a cute little bird, you may think it horrific, but it is only natural. And it is only natural for collision repairers to fight to survive. What is not natural is when collision repairers give up and play nice at the risk of losing everything. That’s agonizing suicide.

If you’re thinking that I spend a lot of time talking about Progressive, there’s good reason. First, they deserve it. Second, I know my audience–and it’s Progressive. For this past year, Progressive Insurance has been my number one visitor to this website. State Farm has been catching up lately. They are the top visitor this month. Way ahead of everyone else. The only other entities that generate more traffic to this site are the large ISP’s like Road Runner and AOL. I’m flattered. Hopefully some of what I talk about is subliminally sinking in.

Oh yeah, remember my prediction about CCC’s announcement that it would get rid of the prompts for bumper covers? I said it would be slow in coming. Well here we are a couple of months and updates later and it’s still there. Your complaints forced them to make a public acquiescence, but now that the hell raising has died down, no need to rush things. We’re still waiting CCC. Wassup?

One more thing. Apparently there is a lawsuit going on in Arizona against Progressive. The plaintiffs have deposed a former Progressive employee. The deposition is interesting reading. For an inside look on the pressure and incentives to steer vehicles to network shops give it a read. It is only a partial transcript. If anyone has the entire document or a link, please send it to me or link to it in the comments section.

 

http://www.bodyshopsolutions.com/WordPress/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/nobile-iacano-docs.pdf

 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Similar Topics

    • By Joe Marconi
      One of the lessons from COVID is for repair shops to have a strong cash reserve.  Shop owners need to budget their money each week, and allocate money to different bank accounts, such as payroll, operating expenses, taxes, etc.
      Another account I would recommend is to have a Cash Reserve account, where money is allocating each week, and not touched unless their is a emergency, such as an economic downturn and or if an economic emergency occurs in your area or with your company. 
      While no one could have predicted the affects from COVID 19, I think we can all agree that being cash strong is a viable strategy.
      You should have anywhere from 3 to 6 months of covered expenses in a separate bank account.  I know, I know....it's a lot of money. Start slow and build each week. Anything set aside is better than nothing. 
      Of course, to have a reserve means that you need to have the profit to put away. Right?  Well, another reason to know your numbers, revisit your pricing and make sure your labor rate is enough to support your payroll, operating expenses and have enough left over to set aside money for the unexpected.
      Trust me, you'll be glad you did. 
       
    • By spencersauto
      What's your houlr labor rate and where are you located? We're currently at $95 in Texas
    • By carmcapriotto
      Kevin Syed, Owner of Integrity 1st Automotive, 8 Locations, Dallas Fort Worth TX, grew up with an entrepreneurial father and was always encouraged to lead. Having successfully earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from University at Buffalo, Kevin went on to become a franchisee with Getty Petroleum / British Petroleum service centers for the better part of a decade in New York City. After gaining the knowledge, experience, and funding required to produce his own operation, Kevin went on to operate his own independent shops in New York. Kevin sought to find a new place to call home with his wife and twin girls; he longed for the community values and environment of the South and so his family made the decision to move to Texas. Integrity 1st Automotive was then born in Texas and Kevin has scaled his business to multiple locations across the Dallas Fort-Worth Metroplex. When he’s not working, Kevin enjoys local car rallies (e.g. Lamborghini Club Dallas), traveling, and hunting. Listen to Kevin's other Episodes HERE
      Carl Hutchinson, Owner, Complete Automotive, 2 locations, Springfield, MO has been in the car industry since 1982, but has worked on vehicles long before that time. He has a passion for engineering, for understanding how vehicles operate, and how to repair a customer’s concern. Earlier in his career, Carl started working at a GM Dealership, then went to work at independent repair facilities as a technician and eventually became a service advisor. Carl’s experience in the automotive industry led him to his current position as co-owner with Maureen Hutchinson of Complete Automotive in Springfield MO., where he works every day to provide high-quality, valuable service to all customers. Carl is an Alumni with Ozarks Technical Community College, Springfield MO Campus. He currently sits on the Automotive Advisory Board with Ozark Technical Community College, a member of South East Rotary, and a member of the Springfield Midwest Auto Care Alliance chapter. Carl has his Master ASE Certification, L1 and Service Advisor certification and is an AMI Graduate. Listen to Carl’s previous episodes HERE Kenny Wedow, Owner, Fine Tuned Auto, 2 Locations, Broomfield and Erie CO  knows cars. A natural talent even at the young age of 17, he pursued it auto repair in shop classes in school then slipped right into the work field. Working for dealerships such as Saturn, and Nissan, as well as other independent shops, has afforded Wedow with extensive and well-rounded education. More importantly, before Wedow branched off to open the doors of Fine Tuned Auto in 2013, he already learned the importance of patient diligence. Many dealerships and independent auto shops can default to make generalizations about the problems with your car, sometimes not always seeing the things that really might put you in danger on the road. The patience Wedow has to pull everything apart if need be to find the root answers makes him unique in his field. It is a quality that got him promoted to foreman at a Nissan dealership when he was only twenty-three. It wasn’t that the six technicians under him weren’t experienced, in fact, some of them had worked considerably longer than Wedow. However, his attention to detail and follow-through put him above and beyond. Listen to Kenny's other episodes HERE
      Key Talking Points
      Building Trust- Focus on relationships, not transactions. Reviews, book of business, referrals etc. People always like to try something new, wow them. Make customers feel better- don’t fake it. Location Location Location- be selective. Walk-ins at an easy location will increase with oil changes etc. First chance to gain customers for life.  First impression marketing- Kenny uses poker chips with his information to attract new customers. Signage, uniforms, customer waiting area etc elevate the professionalism. The image plays a huge role in sales, female-friendly bathroom/lobby, cleanliness, smell in the waiting lobby, convenience etc. Be mindful of female customers, educate and simplify.  Direct mail, google ads, geofencing- who is your clientele? What advertisement is right for your area? Once you have multiple growing businesses- what is your year after year retention?  Why do people choose certain careers/trades? What is the reason? Look at different industries and see what they provide.  Focus on the relationship, not the transaction   Be involved in the community Connect with the show:
      Aftermarket Radio Network
      Subscribe on YouTube
      Visit us on the Web
      Follow on Facebook
      Become an Insider
      Buy me a coffee
      Important Books
      Check out today's partners:

      This episode is brought to you by Shop-Ware Shop Management. It’s time to run your business at its fullest potential with the industry’s leading technology. Shop-Ware Shop Management will increase your efficiency with lightning-fast workflows, help your staff capture more sales every day, and create very happy customers who promote your business. Shops running Shop-Ware have More Time and generate More Profit—join them! Schedule a free live demonstration and find out how 30 minutes can transform your shop at getshopware.com

      Are you seeing auto shops in your area get hundreds of 5-star Google reviews and are you feeling left behind because your shop only has a few?
      Hey look, Broadly is your answer to getting more online reviews. With more reviews, your business will rank higher in search results — and that means more customers coming into your shop every day. Broadly helps you automatically request reviews so that your customers can promote your business with just one click. When you immediately ask for a review after service, when the experience is still fresh in their mind, you’re more likely to get a 5-star positive review. Plus, asking for feedback makes your customer feel valued and more connected to your business. Isn’t that what you want a connected customer? See how Broadly can help grow your auto shop.  Visit www.getbroadly.com/chat to learn more.
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By champtires
      Champtires – one of the leading e-commerce used tire sellers – is not facing supply chain issues. In fact, over the past several months, Champtires’ inventory has grown exponentially.
      “Luckily, we are still able to source really great tires right now,” said Brad Rea, president and founder of Champtires. “Ninety percent of our inventory has 7/32 tread or above, and we’re adding hundreds of Michelins, Pirellis, Continentals – tires in every brand really – every day.”
      Reselling used tires with significant tread life left saves them from ending up in a landfill. And it allows consumers and auto businesses to save drastically compared to new tire prices.
      “Relying on premium used tires is a responsible way to use recycled products while saving yourself a lot of money,” Rea said.
      High quality used tires are perfect if you need to match one or two to a remaining set or when replacing all four tires. Every tire that enters a Champtires facility goes through a thorough three-step inspection process. Free FedEx shipping is included on all website orders to the continental U.S.
      Learn more and shop now at Champtires.com.
    • By ASOG Podcast
      Brian Walker of Shop Market Pros explaining what makes them different at the TOOLS Conference 2021.


  • Similar Tagged Content

    • By Joe Marconi
      For the first time in a VERY LONG time, I see a lot of positive news with regard to labor rates.  More and more shop owners and managers are crunching their numbers and increasing their labor rates to better ensure their companies achieves a profit and also to be able to pay their employees what they deserve. 
      Profit is needed in order to build for the future and to be able to attract quality people. 
      I really think that this is perhaps the best time in our recent history to revisit your labor rates and bottom line and adjust your rates accordingly.  
      Have you adjusted your labor rates recently, or plan on it? 
       
    • By Joe Marconi
      Got your attention? Please read on...
      In case you were hibernating the last year and half, you had to notice all the increases around you. From food, gas, utilities, taxes, insurance, etc., etc., etc. Not to mention all the training and tool investment we must make from now on, to remain in the business.
      I have been preaching this for decades: As an industry we don't charge enough, especially when it comes to labor. 
      While there are ways to increase labor dollars, for example: becoming more productive, making sure that we charge for complex testing and driveability; Base labor rates have to factor in as the most important KPI in your business.
      Do the math, get help from a coach if you need help calculating your labor rate.
      A real Down and Dirty calculation:  If you have one tech and you pay this tech $35 per hour ($42 loaded), then this tech has to bill $140 of labor for every hour worked.  ASSUMING THIS TECH IS 100% PRODUCTTIVE. 
      DISCLAIMNER:  THIS IS A REAL DOWN AND DIRTY QUICK CALCULATION, SEEK ADVICE IF YOU WANT A MORE ACCURATE REQUIRED LABOR RATE. 
    • By Joe Marconi
      The other day, a local fellow shop owner, was complaining to me that his plumber just charged him $225 labor for a house call.  My response was, "And why do you have an issue with that?"
      I know this plumber; he is very successful, in high demand in the area, does great work and provides a VALUBALE service. Does this sound familiar?  You bet....sounds like you and your business!!!
      When the day comes that all of us truly know what we are worth and charge for it, that will be the day when all us raise the level of the auto industry, begin to attract more people to us, pay our employees better, build for our future and go home with the pay we deserve.
      I know this is going to cause controversy....so let's start the conversation.
       
       
       
       
       
    • By Alex
      We now have a nice tool available to all premium and platinum members under the tools menu, where you can view labor rates entered by our members on an easy to use map, similar to our member map. This is designed to give you an idea of where you are vs the market in your area. As you zoom in, the circle averages open up to more specific areas.

       
      If you aren't currently a subscribed premium or platinum member, you can upgrade here.
    • By Joe Marconi
      Shop production is a hot topic these days.  High production results in higher sales and profits.  But there seems to be so many obstacles to overcome to achieve high production levels.  
      I was discussing production with a few shop owners, and one shop owner mentioned that he recently hired a shop foreman; an “A” tech in his early 50’s.  The foreman uses his knowledge and skills to organize the work flow.  For younger techs, it’s even more important that they know how to work and keep productive.
      What are your thoughts?   Does anyone else have a foreman or similar position?  And how does this role affect production?
       
  • Our Sponsors



×
×
  • Create New...