With another hail season approaching, a panel discussion at last November’s Collision Industry Conference (CIC) offered insights from shops, insurers and paintless dent repair companies on reducing friction related to catastrophe claims after a major storm.
Matthew McDonnell of Big Sky Collision in Montana described some of the challenges of working on such “cat team” claims, such as those managed by a paintless dent repair company. Since 2011, for example, Montana has had a law that prohibits an insurer from "unilaterally disregard(ing) a repair operation or cost identified by an estimating system," but McDonnell said “cat team” claims handlers aren’t always aware of that.
“We had to go through that [PDR] company for a supplement,” McDonnell said. “We sent it to them, and they took off a significant amount. They said, ‘We have an agreement [with the insurer involved] and you don’t get paid for those things.’ I had to call them and tell them, ‘We have a different regulation in Montana. You cannot disregard repair operations, and I just want to let you know you’re inconsistent with Montana law.’ They said, ‘Oh, I don’t have to follow Montana law.’”
But although some states may waive their licensing requirement for adjusters who come into the states as part of a “cat claim,” they don’t waive the requirement for state laws to be followed, McDonnell said. He said shops should understand what their state requires of those who come in temporarily to assist with catastrophe claims.
“Our [insurance] commissioner’s office wants them to register with the state,” McDonnell said. “So they will now follow Montana regulations. It’s $100 [to register]. It’s not like it’s a big thing. But it’s the fact that we’re all playing by the rules. That’s a big deal to me.”
The other panelists at CIC were asked to explain how collision repair shops should handle supplements on cat claim estimates prepared either by PDR companies or insurer cat teams.
“On all of our estimates, you will see an appraiser name and phone number, so that’s usually who we’re looking to be the contact for that car,” Chris Andreoli of Progressive Insurance said.