Friday, 30 November 2007 09:00

Barons in the Buff 2007

Written by Dick Strom
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Dick Strom 

It’s time for the latest installment of Barons In The Buff, a collage of candid quotes from the mind-trust of insurance personnel, those who once walked in their shoes, and from those of us who know them all too well. We trust you will find these quotes educational and entertaining, and encourage you to send any notable quotes you’ve received to my e-mail listed above. No fabricated or embellished quips, please: the truth is always “stranger than fiction.”


Now sit back, read, and enjoy. It’s your turn to laugh and consider. Let’s hear from the emperors without their clothes on.

Seen and Heard in Strom’s Shop

But Modern Collision Rebuild (Strom’s shop) uses only the same quality parts that were used when your vehicle was manufactured… —Insurer rep’s statement to owner of damaged vehicle in explaining why the owner should accept use of imitation parts. The vehicle owner replied to the rep, “That’s exactly why I’m having them repair it!”

My estimate is like that Clint Eastwood movie, ‘A Few Dollars More.’
—Comment of local insurer estimator to our office staff. My wife’s quick reply to him was, “But, the repairs on this vehicle will require ‘A Fist Full Of Dollars’ ”

Well, we don’t pay in dollars! —An insurer “supplement hotline” robot who was complaining about our billing in dollars frustrated when we told him we always bill in dollars, and that won’t change. Our shop appraiser wondered out loud, “So, what do they pay in… Pesos? Chickens? Goats?”


Somewhere along the line you’re going to have to take responsibility for the work you’ve done on this vehicle!... We can’t just keep throwing money at this! —Independent insurance estimator’s comment concerning additional supplemental items needed which, if he had included them on his “estimate,” we would never have needed to supplement. This is why we strictly repair vehicles from our own shop-generated estimates. If he had written a full and accurate estimate there would have been no need for supplements.)

All that customer would have to do is take their vehicle in, get it fixed and send the bill to the insurance company. The insurance company must pay the bill in full due to the fact they waived their right to inspect the vehicle before repairs commenced.
—Comment of an insurance rep caught in his own trap: the insurer he represents had waived their right to inspect a vehicle before we repaired it.


All that stuff on your supplement is a bunch of fluff and crap. —Independent insurance estimator’s comment relating to our realistic supplement on another of his seriously short-sighted estimates. Challenging his “fluff and crap” statement against our itemized billing, he couldn’t describe to us which part of out billing was the “fluff” and which was the “crap.”

Who the “HELL” is she to be stopping work? —Outburst of an independent insurer estimator when informed that our customer (the vehicle owner) wanted us to stop work on her vehicle until she had obtained proof that her insurer would be covering all costs; she was adamant that there be no out of pocket expenses to her.


What inflation?
“Do you think we’re going to just give you a blank check to pay for whatever it takes to repair the vehicle?!?”
—Insurer senior claims manager’s retort to our shop seeking his assurance, on behalf of the vehicle owner, that the insurer would pay in full for an itemized cost-accounting of all repair materials.

“Though the insurer I work for doesn’t choose to understand that the price of everything has increased significantly, I do understand. But my insurer has no plans to meet the prevailing rate.” —A comment from an insurance robot, to whom we were pointing out that the insurer he works for refused to reimburse their policy holders at the so-called “prevailing rates” in our area, even though their insureds had to make up the difference out of their own pockets. Only one other insurer in our area reimbursed their policy holders at below the prevailing rate.

Blogs: Speaking One’s Mind
“Until shop owners become activists in their own industry, they will suffer miserably at the hands of insurers and data providers…and they will deserve their misery!” (Blog comment)

“Every month I pay a database provider to help [the insurer] steal money from me. I then buy materials from a company looking for a way to make their product “usual and customary” in order to take more money from me. Oh, but wait. I then pay a hideous amount for insurance to the very entity that has destroyed my dire hopes of turning a profit. I must be some kind of freakin’  idiot! (Blog comment)

Twilight zone    
Both Allstate and State Farm want to keep their personal status exempt from the antitrust laws, yet both rejected my offer to come here today and explain to the Committee why they deserve it…The bottom line is, right now we do not know what anti-competitive acts insurers may be engaging in because the antitrust immunity insurers enjoy acts as a curtain that hides their activity from federal antitrust authorities. —Statement by Senator Patrick Leahy regarding repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act.

(Insurer) guarantees that it will replace the Quality Replacement Parts identified on this estimate if a defect is discovered. (Insurer) further guarantees that the parts will be C.A.P.A when applicable. This guarantee will be in effect for as long as you own the vehicle described in this estimate, and is not transferable to another party at any time. This guarantee covers the cost of the part, labor to install, paint and materials if required, and cost of a temporary replacement vehicle during the repairs. This guarantee does not cover consequential damages. —Estimate “disclaimer” notes at the back of an insurer estimate.


This estimate has been prepared based on the use of a motor vehicle crash part not made by the original equipment manufacturer. The use of a motor vehicle crash part not made by the original equipment manufacturer may invalidate any remaining warranties of the original equipment manufacturer on that motor vehicle. The person who prepared this estimate will provide a copy of the part warranty for the crash parts not made by the original equipment manufacturer. —From an insurance company estimate disclaimer page: we’re still at a loss why anyone reading this statement with comprehension would even consider having anything but OEM parts installed on a vehicle.

Dick Strom, Modern Collision Rebuild, 9270 Miller Road, NE, Bainbridge Island, Washington 98110; (206) 842-3621; e-mail: moderncol@qwest.net.