Recognize Good Carriers, Don't Get Bullied
I’ve seen evidence lately upholding “good faith” arguments, but I’m also hearing support for “bad faith” judgments. Please don’t tell me that all a carrier has to do is get someone to accept the cheapest estimate?
This is a legal question that needs legal counsel to fully assess and answer. However, I believe it is extremely important that the collision repair industry understands what is meant by “bad faith judgment,” as it potentially lays the groundwork for fraud. Please exercise extreme caution before acting if you feel “bullied” by an insurer. You must remember that you are the expert for safe and proper collision repairs. Understating those repairs may be misrepresenting the consumer.
One of the challenges seen in some court cases examining bad-faith judgments is the attempt to categorize collision repairs as a commodity, much like a desk lamp. Collision repair is not a commodity. It is a service, and because no two collisions are identical, the procedures and costs vary from loss to loss.
The Collision Industry Conference is attempting to create a “collision industry standard,” but that is a long and tedious process. Until then, I believe it is important that the industry demand the complete and entire use of a database, without exception. Anything indicated at less than the value indicated by the database should demonstrate “bad faith” on the part of a carrier or repair facility. The industry has recognized the good carriers out there that want to do the right thing, and it is time we support them by accepting nothing less than what is truly “good faith.”
Ray Fisher is the president of ASA-Michigan. This article represents his opinion and does not reflect the views of ASA-Michigan.