Paul Hawks, owner of Bernie's Body Shop in Lakeland, Fla., is using a limited power of attorney signed by his customer and has filed a breach of contract suit against Progressive Insurance Co. on behalf of his customer, a Progressive policyholder who asked that his name be withheld.
The lawsuit is the result of the nation's fourth largest personal auto insurer's refusal to pay for repair-related body materials. The insurer's position is that body materials are not reimbursable because they are part of a repairer's "cost of doing business."
"It's most unfortunate that a repairer must take these legal steps but the under-payments and non-payments are continually increasing as insurers squeeze consumers and their repairers," Hawks said.
"I'm sick of being intimidated by insurance companies. While rent, lights, advertising and such are (the cost of doing business) body materials are not?"
Hawks' shop is in Lakeland, the same city where Gunder's Auto Center is located.
Ray Gunder, owner of Gunder's Auto Center, has successfully sued insurance companies in similar lawsuits. See related stories or search "Gunder" on www.autobodynews.com.
Gunder and Barrett Smith of Auto Damage Experts, conducted a free legal seminar to help collision repairers recover the full costs required for a proper and thorough repair. The seminar was at 11 a.m. April 14 in Lakeland. See story this issue.