On Feb. 22, WBUR, a Boston news station, reported that a complaint had been filed against CCC Information Services by Source One Financial Corporation.
The complaint alleged that CCC frequently understates car values through sloppiness or fraud.
Source One CFO Michael Parsons told WBUR, "On a regular basis, we see [CCC] making claims regarding the sales price of motor vehicles that aren't substantiated. In fact, Source One has sent out private detectives to make sure that the prices they give are fair. And what we're finding is, on a regular basis, those prices are not the right price, either because they are discounting the price available [or] taking unreasonable condition adjustments against the consumer's car."
The Massachusetts Department of Insurance (DOI) has agreed to investigate Source One’s allegations, though the office refrained from announcing the decision publicly and is unable to discuss open complaints.
However, according to WBUR, Thomas Walsh, a supervisor in the DOI’s consumer services unit, wrote in a September email, "Our department accepts complaints from consumers only; we do not normally accept business to business complaints. Nevertheless, I made the decision to accept your complaint on the basis that if proven true, the allegations made in your complaint would affect many consumers."
Encouraged by the DOI’s intention to investigate the claims that CCC shorted Massachusetts drivers out of thousands of dollars in totaled and stolen vehicle claims, AASP/MA issued a statement on the subject. In the statement, AASP/MA Executive Director Lucky Papageorg expressed confidence that this matter will bring greater attention to the discrepancies existing between shop and insurer versions of estimating platforms.
Papageorg stated, “It is about time that a spotlight of this nature is shone on the Division of Insurance and on what is an obviously flawed system that only serves to condone the systematic defrauding of the consumers by insurance companies. The fox is truly watching the henhouse. All one has to do is call the DOI and see what it means to be stonewalled on any issue.
"This situation reinforces my belief that the service providers are there to sell to insurance companies. I feel they create packages that are advantageous to insurers. They are their biggest customers, but at the same time, the motoring public is at a disadvantage.”
AASP/MA collision director Rob DelGallo agreed.
“It’s all sided for the insurance company; it’s as simple as that,” he said. “I’ve seen them actually put six hours to prep the car for auction deducted from the valuation in total loss jobs. We could never get six hours to clean a car.”
Matt Ciaschini, treasurer of AASP/MA, added, “I’m going to use the WBUR article as part of the total loss package we give our customers. When a customer’s vehicle is totaled, we help them with finding the true value of their vehicle while making sure they know to do their due diligence to get paid out properly. Ninety-five percent of the time when we’re dealing with customer totals, they’re getting badly low-balled. This is not just a CCC issue; this is an industry issue.”
Although CCC has not yet responded to AASP/MA’s statement, it did issue its own statement in response to the WBUR article and Source One’s allegations: “We are aware of the article and believe the allegations against CCC’s valuation product and service are without merit. We continue to stand behind the quality and supportability of our valuation product and service.”
While Parsons admits that his intentions aren’t fully altruistic because his company often has a financial interest in the outcomes of CCC’s appraisals, the matter has impacted him since his son received what he considered a low-ball payment on a total loss claim last year due to a CCC appraisal.
Parsons noted, “My company fights for the benefit of consumers to get the most money---hence, we get fully paid as well, so I'm not suggesting it's altruistic[; however,] it is personal, at this particular moment in time. But it's always been personal. I run an auto finance company and on a daily basis, I watch people's lives get affected.”
AASP/MA encourages its association members to read the complete WBUR article. For more information on AASP/MA, visit aaspma.org.