Wednesday, 18 December 2013 14:33

Saying That Insurers Force Shops To Repair Cars Improperly is Nothing More Than ‘Crying Wolf’

Written by staff

Shops repair vehicles and insurance companies reimburse insureds for their loss. That is a simple explanation as to what happens after an accident. So how is it possible that something so simple can be so confusing, challenging and rife with accusations of impropriety?

After the most recent series of industry meetings, rants, press releases and whining sessions about insurance companies forcing shops to repair cars improperly, I offer you two words: get real. This is the most pathetic, unsubstantiated claim I’ve ever heard. My compadres in the insurance industry are equally fed up with this biased, unprofessional and unfounded allegation. There’s been more crying and sniffling than you would hear in most nurseries and daycares across the country. I’m inclined to start producing “No Crying” buttons to be passed out at the industry’s next event.

In the movie, “A League of Their Own,” Tom Hanks’ character said ‘there’s no crying in baseball.’ I am here to say that there is ‘no crying in the collision industry.’

If you are not familiar with the crying that I’m talking about, let me explain. Some collision repair shops are trying to convince the media and industry that insurance companies refuse to pay for a safe and proper repair, and that that’s what leads to bad repairs. The only thing more ridiculous than that is saying all collision repair shops actually know how to do a proper and safe repair.

I would challenge any shop in the United States to produce ONE single example of an insurance company refusing to pay for the proper repair or replacement of a safety related component or structural repair. If you do have an example,  please also include the name and contact information of your customer so I can let them know that you knowingly repaired their car wrong because their insurer wouldn’t pay.

I think it’s time we truly identify the root cause of all this noise and melodrama. There are items that shops and insureds are negotiating that shops aren’t being reimbursed for – items that have nothing to do with the safety of the repair. That is the issue.

Nobody is asking you to section a part in an incorrect location. Nobody is telling you not to replace a damaged safety related component so the insurance company can save money. Nobody is telling you to straighten a part that requires replacement when it has been compromised.

The grandstanding that is taking place is unproductive and playing out worse than an episode of “All My Children.” Which, by the way, was cancelled.

The fact is there are some bad actors in the industry who are more interested in being on the pulpit and acting like they are auditioning for a role in “Desperate Housewives” than they are in trying to resolve real problems. I suppose not resolving the problem allows them to stay in the limelight and at the forefront of controversy. Crying wolf usually will get the attention of someone once, maybe twice. But the third time is usually the end of the road.

I’m suggesting that you may have hit that end. So you have a few choices. Keep crying and become more irrelevant. Turn around with your tail between your legs and find something else to champion. Or perhaps travel a different road and look to find ways to help resolve some of the inherent conflicts that even I am willing to acknowledge exist.

I would also request that if you are going to send me an example of an insurance company not paying for a safe and proper repair, don’t focus on aftermarket parts. Aftermarket parts aren’t the Second Coming of Satan. They have been installed on millions of cars since the late 1970s and early 1980s. Please provide me a list of the deaths and lawsuits won where it was proven that aftermarket parts were the cause. It shouldn’t be that hard if it’s as prevalent an issue as many of you seem to think. You have your choice of millions of cars on the road with aftermarket parts.

Having a tough time thinking of even one? That’s kind of what I thought.

Nobody listened to the boy in the old story who cried wolf, and I’m fairly confident nobody is listening to the current crop of industry whiners. Identify what your true issues are and stop trying to mask them with rants of “safety” and “someone is going to die.”

If I completely missed the mark and insurers are refusing to pay for safe repairs, you have a responsibility to your customer and business to do the right thing. Share your story with “60 Minutes” and maybe you can retire a very rich person. The boy who cried wolf but was right… now who wouldn’t pay for that story?

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