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"We don't pay for that"

Many of the same topics in the collision repair industry never seem to go away, such as insurer steering, compensation for paint and materials, and the familiar refrain, “we don’t pay for that.”

That was the observation of Tony Lombardozzi of Automotive Collision Repair Services at the NORTHEAST Leadership Forum March 9.

“I’ve been coming here for 30 years and we’ve been saying the same things today that we have been saying for the last 30 years,” Lombardozzi said. “The industry needs to break its trend of the last 20 years of dependency and thinking somebody else – the government or insurance companies – will take care of us.

“Things will only get better in our industry when we decide to take control of what we do in our own shops,” he said. “Don’t put another party, such as an insurance company, in charge of the repair. The insurer is not a third party to our contract with our customer and should not be involved in the repair process. What an insurer appraiser writes is meaningless. It serves no purpose in the repair process.”

He pointed out that an exception to this is if a shop has a direct repair program (DRP) contract with the insurer. Shops that sign DRP contracts have to go by the terms in those contracts. Those contracts indemnify and hold harmless the insurer in case of any legal action taken by the customer against the shop over the repair of a vehicle. As such, repairers cannot blame the insurance company for taking a shortcut on a repair or for using unsuitable replacement parts.

“If you don’t repair the car properly, you cannot exonerate yourself by blaming the insurance company, said Lombardozzi, who also is president of the Coalition for Collision Repair Excellence. “Things will not turn out well for you in court if you try to do that.”

Charles Bryant, executive director of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) agreed with Lombardozzi’s assessment of insurer interference. Bryant suggested being polite and conversational with insurance company appraisers, but not to negotiate with them.

“Offer them a cup of coffee, talk to them about last night’s hockey game, and direct them to the car they want to write an estimate on,” Bryant said. “But don’t go back there with them and don’t negotiate the repair.

“You are the expert on how to repair cars, not the insurance company. Write what needs to be done, make a proper and safe repair and bill fairly for you work.”

They both agreed that means repairers have to educate customers about the repair process and explain why the estimate the repairer wrote is the one that is in the customer’s best interest.

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More from 2012 NORTHEAST Show

Comments




  • They do pay.  They just don't pay YOU for that.

    jmmoy24, 2 years ago | Flag

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