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Name-your-price Insurance?

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I recently saw a TV ad from an insurance carrier promoting a policy allowing customers to name their price. Given most customers buy on price, this can’t be good, right?

As with many new challenges put to the industry, this one will depend on collision repairers. In these tough economic times, our country seems to be sorting through systems that work, and those that have been abused. Regardless of how things turn out for regulation and free enterprise, consumer protection remains at the forefront of business—sometimes to business’s detriment.

In some states, consumer protection legislation requires that the final invoice include all repairs performed. That’s a good practice to abide by even if it’s not mandated where you live. I believe that as the collision industry focuses on compensation for “P-Page” items and the collection of such, this will force a “co-pay” environment with the carrier. That’s something that won’t fare well in current economic conditions.

As we go through this economic adjustment, small businesses—along with lower- and middle-class residents—will continue to be a focal point. Anything that burdens these groups will be challenged. I think that will be true for this “choice of policy,” especially when the attorneys and legislators get ahold of the press release_notes, done about six years ago, that explains how a high percentage of insured motorists don’t know what their policy covers. As an industry, we can help educate motorists about this—simply by holding them responsible for the full invoice before other insurers decide to adapt to this new name-your-price model.

Ray Fisher is the president of ASA-Michigan. This article represents his opinion and does not reflect the views of ASA-Michigan.

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