The hot topic of the evening—the value of OEM certifications—was approached. Cavallaro said, “I feel so fortunate that I made the investment to become certified. The OEM manufacturers will be your customers moving forward. If you’re on a certification program while a customer gets into an accident, that vehicle is coming to you before it gets into an insurance company’s hands.”
Amendola assured attendees that pre- and post-scanning is necessary to properly repair modern vehicles. He urged them to check OEM guidelines, which can be cited on the invoice to receive compensation from the insurer. Amendola was asked if shops are entitled to charge for labor—including time spent with insurers and customers, on total losses—and he said, “Yes. You’re taking into consideration many things that cost you your time such as removal of the plates, customer personal belongings, fair-damage assessments and more.”
Attendees received advice on dealing with insurers who refuse to pay posted labor rates. When it comes to handling insurers who refuse to pay for necessary parts or procedures to restore the vehicle to pre-accident condition, Ferraiolo reminded everyone, “You’re the professional repairing that vehicle and you need to make the judgment call as to what is necessary to repair the vehicle properly.”
In response to insurers who refuse to pay for necessary repairs that have already been started, Lupinek advised, “Once an insurance company inspects a vehicle, determines the loss and liability, we produce a repair plan and repair the vehicle. You can and should document what you are doing and take photos. A final invoice along with photos is all that is required.”
Regarding how to respond to insurers who insist that parts must be purchased from a specific vendor, Lombardozzi claimed, “They lie! I don’t believe there is any law in Connecticut that states you are bound to purchase parts from a source that the insurance company recommends.”
In addition to discussing menu pricing and how to calculate the true cost of labor, Lombardozzi said to include billing for research time on your invoice.