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Thursday, 23 June 2011 15:56

ABAC Says New Allstate Mandate Violates Connecticut Law

In a notice to collision repairers in the state, the Auto Body Association of Connecticut (ABAC) is warning shop owners that some Allstate managers are forcing their damage appraisers to institute new policies that are in direct conflict with Connecticut law.

According to the notice, certain Allstate damage appraisers have informed the association that their managers are instructing damage appraisers to disallow labor on any supplement involving “Labor Only Procedures.”

In addition, those same insurance managers are also mandating visual inspections on all vehicles before any appraiser can authorize repairs to start and are no longer permitting appraisers to accept body shop photos.

According to the notice, Allstate has further instructed these appraisers to disregard all documented procedures performed by a shop that did not wait for the required supplement inspection.

The ABAC says that these mandates violate Connecticut law and cause unnecessary delays. Specifically, the association says the mandates are in violation of Appraiser Regulations 38a790-8 which state that every appraiser must “approach the appraisal of damaged property without prejudice against, or favoritism toward, any party involved in order to make fair and impartial appraisals [and] disregard any efforts on the part of others to influence his judgment in the interest of the parties involved.”

The association is asking repair shops to monitor and record any instances in which they observe a Connecticut licensed appraiser working on behalf of Allstate refusing to follow the law.

The association has created a special Incident Report to document these instances and asks shops to fax completed reports to the association.

Remember, body shops repair vehicles for customers—not insurance companies. The body shop’s obligation is to provide a safe repair in a timely fashion.

If Allstate is refusing to pay rightful charges, you have the right to charge your customer the difference, or hold the vehicle until paid in full.

“If your business and your customer are being victimized by unnecessary delays or monies owed caused by Allstate’s practices, have your customer contact the appraiser and let them explain why these practices are occurring,” the notice explains. “It is suggested the customer contact Allstate CEO Thomas Wilson at 1-847-402-5000, for best results. You are also encouraged to discuss these practices with your customer and recommend that they file a written complaint with the Department of Insurance,” the notice concludes.

The association also reminds repair facilities that Connecticut law allows repair charges for storage and/or bay tie-up caused by any delay beyond the shop’s control with the stipulation that all charges must be conspicuously posted in the facility per DMV law.

When contacted about the ABAC claims, Allstate said there have not been any changes in its policy.

“Allstate has not changed its policy regarding the inspection of supplements. We have a clearly defined process for notification of supplements and we make those inspection and approval decisions on a case by case basis, without prejudice or subjectivity, and in compliance with state laws,” said James Haskins, Allstate Senior Vice President. “We’re committed to a fast, fair and easy process for both our customers and the shops that repair their vehicles.”

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