Domenico: Chuck, what exactly is Collision Billing?
Chuck: Collision Billing was created to keep the insurance companies in check and to help the auto body shops get paid for the work they are doing. Nobody was representing the shops, so we created Collision Billing to level the playing field. We have two main services that we provide for the collision industry, the first being our Full Billing Services, and, of course, our Claims Database.
Domenico: For years, there have been consultants that have been telling shops how to get paid by using the reference manuals, P-Pages, and other tips on writing a complete sheet. How are you different?
Chuck: The other consultants do a great job of explaining what is included and not included and what to ask for. We have all been to their workshops and get excited and go out on Monday and start writing repair orders the way we should. When you ask for those things, the insurance company’s response is that they don’t pay for that and the shop has no recourse to get paid for it and they stop asking for it. What the shop is lacking is data to substantiate the operation, or someone who will challenge the insurance company on the shop’s behalf. That’s where we come in, and that’s how we’re different.
Domenico: How does your full billing services work?
Chuck: Our full billing services are similar to the professional billing services used in the medical field, and much like a medical biller, we work with the shop in submitting their final blueprint for repair to the insurance company. We work with the shop to make sure they are billing for all operations performed to repair their customer’s vehicle to pre-accident condition. We then use data gathered from our experience and our claims database to justify the charges to the insurance company.
Domenico: So you simply submit the finished paperwork to the insurance company once the job is done?
Chuck: Actually, we work the job from the moment the car arrives at the shop to the time the shop receives final payment for the job. The estimator writes the original blueprint for repair and we take over from there, adding any additional R&I or other operations that may have been missed. From that point forward, we handle all communication with the insurance company. We then make them justify why they refuse to pay by using our arsenal of tools and experience to show them the validity of the operation.
Domenico: So what has been the response so far?
Chuck: Given our knowledge of the three major estimating platforms, the P-Pages, database reference manuals and our Claims Database, we have been very successful in getting our clients paid on the work they have performed. We have helped shops get paid for operations where previously they were told “We don’t pay for that” and we were able to show that the insurance prevailing rates were not accurate to get some shops their true labor rates.
Domenico: I’m familiar with the P-Pages and reference manuals, but what exactly is the Claims Database?
Chuck: The Claims Database is our number one tool in assisting our clients in getting paid. It’s where we track different components of the estimates and log them for future use. For example, we can find if a certain insurance company has paid for a specific operation (such as a finish sand and buff or test drive car), paid for itemized materials, or are even suppressing the labor rates for the area with deceptive estimating practices. It’s real simple. We submit this data to prove our point.
Domenico: That sounds like it would be extremely useful. Do shops have to use your billing service to get access to that information?
Chuck: Actually, we realized early on how powerful the data was, and we wanted to make it available to the masses. So we created a subscription model that allows shops to submit their estimates along with the corresponding insurance estimates to contribute to the database. They can then request from Collision Billing information to be sent to an adjustor on specific operations or rates. To follow our earlier example, let’s say an insurance company claims they won’t pay for finish sand and buff, so we then show them examples of where they have. Now, it’s up to them to justify why the operation is paid on one side of town, but not on the other.
Domenico: You have mentioned a few times that you will pursue payment. What is meant by that and how far are you willing to take it?
Chuck: We are collecting and tracking a lot of information. We will use that information to get our members paid, period. We see trends where insurance companies have “policies” that they don’t pay for specific operations. We don’t see any justification for their “policies,” especially when the information providers state that those are not included operations. We will challenge them to do what’s right and start paying for the operations, and if we have to, we will take them to court. One of our partners and legal council, Erica Eversman, has successfully won many cases. With the data we are collecting, we will be able to achieve on a global scale what she has accomplished at the local and state level. This data can also be used to share with both the Department of Insurance and the States Attorney Generals to show patterns of unfair trade practices.
For more information on Collision Billing, call 517-489-4280 or go to www.collisionbilling.com.