'Who Pays For What?' Survey Reports Low Reimbursement Rates for Seat Belt Inspections

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July 2, 2018—The quarterly “Who Pays for What?” survey conducted this past spring found that just over 30 percent of shops that seek to be paid for inspection of seat belts when it is necessary as part of the repair process said they are paid “always” or “most of the time” for it, and 50 percent of shops have not asked for payment for this important process.

“Of the nearly 100 procedures and items we ask about over the course of four surveys each year, this is the one that most keeps me awake at night,” said Mike Anderson of Collision Advice, who conducts the surveys with CRASH Network.

The findings related to seat belt inspection are troubling, Anderson said. because every automaker has a very specific procedure for the process.

Anderson said the response to the survey question “is very concerning in that it indicates to me that too few shops are researching OEM repair procedures and are thus not aware” of what the automakers call for.

“As an industry, we must accept responsibility for researching and following the requirements for this on every vehicle,” Anderson said.

The survey, to which more than 1,000 shops responded, did offer some indication the industry is becoming more aware of the need for inspection of seat belts during collision repair. The same survey two years earlier found that fewer than 1-in-4 (24 percent) of shops said they were paid regularly for the procedure. That had climbed to 31 percent this year. The percentage of shops that said they’d never sought to be paid for the procedure had fallen somewhat from about 62 percent in 2016 to about 59 percent this year.

In addition to asking shops about their billing practices – and insurers’ payment practices – regarding about two dozen not-included body labor operations, the April survey asked about shops’ scanning practices, estimating and electronic parts systems usage, and body labor and storage rates.

The latest of the four 2018 “Who Pays for What?” surveys, which focuses on not-included frame and mechanical labor operations, is open now through the end of July at, according to Anderson.

Survey participants receive a report with complete survey findings at no charge, broken down by region, insurer and DRP vs. non-DRP. The report also includes analysis and resources to help shops better understand and use the information presented.

Anderson said the survey, which will take about 15-30 minutes, should be completed by the shop owner, manager or estimator who is most familiar with the shop's billing practices and the payment practices of the largest national insurers. Each shop's individual responses are held in the strictest confidence; only aggregated data is released.


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