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Thursday, 06 June 2019 21:43

Consumer Advocate Gives Industry New Voice With Insurance Regulators

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 Ohio attorney Erica Eversman said some state insurance regulators are open to hearing about collision repairer’s concerns. Ohio attorney Erica Eversman said some state insurance regulators are open to hearing about collision repairer’s concerns. John Yoswick


Eversman said California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara seemed particularly receptive after her presentation to work with her “on solving some of these issues for consumers,” and she sensed “immediate opportunities to be able to make a change” in New York, North Carolina, Colorado and Mississippi.


“This is not to say other states wouldn’t be interested, but I didn’t have any personal interactions [at the NAIC meeting] with some of the other states,” Eversman said.


Mississippi is one state in which repairers shouldn’t have trouble being paid for OEM repair procedures, she said. Following her presentation, Eversman spoke with Deputy Insurance Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Insurance, Mark Haire.


“Our commissioner already mandates the use of OEM procedures. We don’t have that issue,” Eversman said Haire told her. “That was the first I’d heard of that. That could be true, I don’t know, but that was the position they took.”


Eversman acknowledged that many collision repairers and shop associations have become frustrated with trying to get their state insurance regulators to address their concerns about some claims practices by auto insurers.


“Unfortunately, as I think we’ve all experienced, sometimes it seems as if the insurance commissioners are there to protect the insurance companies [rather than consumers],” Eversman said. “I certainly have had that experience.”


One message she said she received at an NAIC meeting centered on the idea that shops should file complaints about insurer practices with their state regulators.


“I told commissioners we sometimes get push-back—we’ve been told there are some states in which the department of insurance won’t take complaints from collision repairers—only from consumers,” Eversman said. “They told me no, that isn’t true.”


She said if shops are told that, they should contact her so she can address it with the state agency involved. Complaints directly from consumers may be better, she said, “but how is the consumer supposed to know why a roof needs to be welded rather than glued? They can’t know that.”


One state regulator told her they don’t have the authority to make factual determinations about who is at fault in some disputes, she said.

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