State Farm Offers Explanation for Midwest Storm Response
June 18, 2014—State Farm issued a statement to FenderBender on Wednesday, clarifying an email from a State Farm representative that has circulated between industry professionals over recent weeks.
The email, which was forwarded to FenderBender from a reader who wished to remain anonymous, was in response to an influx of work that overloaded shops in Nebraska and southwest Iowa following a wave of severe storms in early June. The email informed State Farm’s Select Service direct repair network shops in those areas that the Select Service program would be “turned off” in order to better assist customers. It also commented directly on the program’s mandated use of the PartsTrader electronic parts procurement system.
“In order to streamline the estimating process for storm losses related to June 3–4, 2014, it is NOT [sic] necessary to submit the estimates to PartsTrader for quotes. Continue to use PartsTrader to direct order all parts,” the email stated.
The reader who forwarded the email to FenderBender suggested the situation seems “ironic” as the PartsTrader system has been touted as a “resource to promote efficiency.”
In response, State Farm issued the following to FenderBender:
“State Farm recognizes the impact extreme weather events have on our customers. Extreme weather events present unique challenges and result in claim handling processes that differ from normal business practices.
“Depending on the volume of a weather event, State Farm may not offer customers the Select Service program because the volume would hinder a Select Service repairer’s ability to perform traditional repairs in a timely and efficient manner.
“In cases when Select Service repairers are asked to participate in weather event losses, and are selected by the customer to repair their vehicle, we expect our Select Service business partners to provide the same service and to remain in compliance with the Select Service agreement.
“In this case, the internal message to our business partners was just a reminder that the direct order functionality, which has always been available, is an option when alternative parts are not available. Misinformation in the industry continues to cause confusion. Local management felt this reminder would be helpful for our business partners in this particular situation.”