Collision Repairers Actually Lament Lack of Insurance Adjusters in Shops
Written by John Yoswick, Autobody News
Published June 08, 2022
Aaron Schulenburg of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) said he was surprised by one of the findings of the association’s survey earlier this year asking shops about what changes could have a positive impact on their business.
“I never in a million years thought the response from a collision repair facility would be: Have more adjusters come back out to my shop,” Schulenburg said, noting multiple respondents shared such statements.
During a Repairer Roundtable panel discussion of the survey findings this spring, Kyle Bradshaw, director of operations for K&M Collision in Hickory, NC, said he understands the sentiment.
“We spend a lot of time trying to educate insurance appraisers,” Bradshaw said. “So if it’s somebody who comes to our shop frequently, I don’t have to explain the same operations on every single job. However, [with remote claims handling] it’s basically like playing roulette; you don’t know who you’re going to get. It’s burdensome. It takes a long time. Fortunately, in our state, physical inspections are required. Our members have started to lean back on the administrative code: ‘Listen, you need to physically inspect the vehicle.’”
Jordan Hendler of the Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association said when the law in Virginia was being changed in 2016 to allow for photo estimates, the association fought hard to make sure a caveat was included in the legislation that “if there is any disagreement with the repairer, then a physical inspection is required.”
“That’s something we pushed for, and I’m glad that we did because that’s become really important in the last couple of years,” Hendler said.
But later in the discussion, when panelists were asked what they think will not return post-pandemic, Andy Tylka of the Tag Auto Group, which operates 15 shops in Indiana, kept his response brief. “Simple answer: Adjusters being in the shops,” Tylka said.
Schulenburg said he agreed photo-based estimating isn’t going away, but insurers need to recognize they may not “reap the gains and expect the process to work well” if they also do away with their knowledgeable staff.
“That’s one of the things we hear quite a bit from our membership, about the length of approvals, because the process ends up going back into a human’s hands, and the technical acuity of the human who is handling it just isn’t the same as it once was,” Schulenburg said. “So it’s just leading to longer cycle times, longer interactions, that negatively affect the consumer experience.”