SCRS’ Aaron Schulenburg, right, introduces state insurance commissioners Mike Causey, left, and Scott White, center, before their presentations at the association’s open board meeting.

Estimating Systems Expected to Make Changes Based on Paint Blend Study (article continued)

“I did ask this question because I didn’t know, and I was told the prevailing rate is the [DRP] network rate,” White said. “That seems pretty easy to find out. But maybe there’s a difference in how we’re looking at it.”

He pointed to what he sees as a similar situation in the health care industry, where providers and insurers may disagree on what is the “commercial reasonable rate.” But Bradshaw pointed to what he sees as a key difference.

“The only thing I would say about the medical industry is that they are licensed professionals,” he said. “Even bad doctors have had a lot of education, a lot of ongoing training. In our industry, in [most] states, there’s no licensure requirement. There’s no equipment or training requirements. So the difference among body shops is vast,” yet they are all told there’s one “prevailing rate.”

One reason White may not be familiar with the issue came out in his opening comments.

“A question I framed to my team was: Do we get a lot of complaints that involve collision repair shops either directly or indirectly,” White said. “The answer I got was ‘No, not really.’ Not as many as you might expect.”

He said that was true both in absolute terms---the actual number received---and as a trend, with the department receiving “a lot more” complaints five or 10 years ago.

“Which kind of surprised me,” White said. “It may not be an accurate reflection of what’s going on out there. The caveat is we aren’t seeing all the problems that are probably out there.”

North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance Mike Causey, on the other hand, said his department gets “a large volume of complaints, all kinds, and I’d say auto insurance [complaints] are a majority over homeowners'.”

Causey said he, like shops, sees differences among insurance companies as well.

“Some do a really good job of handling claims, paying claims quickly. Others are terrible,” Causey said. “The consumer certainly has to shop around. But again, anything you bring to the attention of regulators, if you give it to our office and say, ‘We’ve noticed this, this is the documentation we have,” we’ll get our folks on it and investigate it and try to get to the bottom of it.”

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