While it is a widely held belief that insurance departments will only accept complaints from consumers, not shops, the Virginia Bureau of Insurance (BOI) recently confirmed it will accept complaints filed by body shops on behalf of consumers, as long as they obtain the claimant’s written permission.
The Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association (WMABA) is excited “to see if this opportunity is utilized by the repairers to at least show where problems are arising,” said Executive Director Jordan Hendler.
“The department is having a hard time equating what we tell them with the complaints because there just aren’t any," Hendler said. "Without actual submissions, they will not act on behalf of our interests."
“The BOI seems eager to receive complaints. This is its main avenue to determine conduct issues outside of its insurer market conduct studies, which haven’t led to any change for our industry," Hendler said. "We’ve seen a few shops really encourage customers to file when issues arise, but not that many do this.
"Now that shops can file themselves, it’s unclear how many we will see, but we are hopeful this gives more options.”
WMABA developed verbiage for shops to use when filing a complaint, which includes having the customer complete an authorization form for the shop to file on their behalf.
The authorization form references statute 38.2-517C, which allows repair facilities to submit a complaint with the claimant’s written authorization.
Additional information on filing a complaint with the BOI can be found here
Now that Virginia’s BOI has clarified its stance on accepting complaints from collision repair facilities on behalf of consumers, WMABA hopes to use this information to explore similar opportunities in the markets where association members are located.
“Our board agreed to pursue this recent advancement in Virginia to see what happened before putting a lot of effort into other states," Hendler said. "Maryland, as an example, has a way for the repairer to file the complaint, and there is even an appeals process involving administrative hearings. The consumer can represent themselves, but the repairer would have to have representation by legal counsel if they were to act directly.
"All that said, it remains that the biggest mechanism for change is to actually send in the complaints," Hendler said. "WMABA is here to help that process in whatever state in our region a repairer is in.”
For more information about WMABA, visit wmaba.com.