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John Yoswick

John YoswickJohn Yoswick is a freelance automotive writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has been writing about the collision industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com).


He can be contacted at john@crashnetwork.com 

Tuesday, 06 September 2022 15:40

Insurers, Collision Repairers Discuss How to Improve Estimating, Claims Adjusting Process

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Connie Hutton of Erie Insurance encourages shops and insurers to keep customers in the loop while claims are being handled. Connie Hutton of Erie Insurance encourages shops and insurers to keep customers in the loop while claims are being handled.

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Collision repairers and insurance company representatives at this summer’s Collision Industry Conference (CIC) discussed the friction that exists between the two segments of the industry in terms of estimating damages and adjusting claims.

An appraiser for Erie Insurance seemed to surprise some collision repairers at the meeting when she suggested shops and insurers should keep customers in the loop about the claims adjusting processes.

 

“So if you’re emailing the shop, ‘cc’ your customer in that for information purposes,” Connie Hutton suggested during the CIC Estimating Committee panel discussion. “And continue the thread. It keeps them informed and, believe it or not, when I was on the shop side, I got paid for most everything I did because I kept [the customer] informed.”

 

Panelist Rob Wagner of Rob Wagner Auto Body in Pittsburgh said he was “blown away” by Hutton’s suggestion.

 

“We need to invest in cloning technology,” Wagner said of Hutton, drawing laughter. “Because that’s literally something that’s created friction between me and appraisers before. It’s, ‘What are you doing talking to the customer about this?’ But it’s their car.”

 

Insurer Estimate Not a Repair Plan

 

Hutton also emphasized there’s a clear difference between an insurer estimate and a repair plan.

 

“When I send my estimates out, my first line says: If you need a supplement---photos, invoices, sublets, whatever---just send all that’s clear, and you’ll be paid,” she said. “Half of [shops] don’t even read that. It just wastes time for you, not me.”

 

Hutton was asked what types of repair operations are the hardest for her to approve.

 

“A sublet to a [dealer] that doesn’t include any documentation when the bill is $3,500,” Hutton said. “It just says, ‘Calibration done.’ I need a little bit more than that. I’ll pay it, but give me...


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