Mike Orso, president of Nick Orso’s Body Shop in Syracuse, N.Y., said that Esurance has settled various “short pay” claims totaling more than $6,000 for various repair topics including OE vs. aftermarket parts, P-page omissions, labor rate and paint material caps. The claims were the result of assignment of proceeds collections customers had assigned to the shop.
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“The outside council of Bousquet-Holstein PLLC handled this collection and did a great job,” said Orso’s attorney Joseph Talarico. “I think it comes to a point where some insurance companies realize we have sound cases, based on sound legal merit and a staff of attorneys and paralegals that won’t give up. The mere fact that they are incurring legal expense added to claims they owe for is absurd. After five years of processing these claims I believe it continues because very few shops have a system to document shortages and push back."
“In one of these cases the insurer sent out an appraiser who actually negotiated and left his appraisal at the shop with an agreed price," Orso said. "A week later I got a new estimate and check for an amount based on a re-written in-house desk appraisal for $2,000 less than the agreed. I phoned them and they said the field appraiser had “no authority” to settle claims and basically told me, “take-it or leave it.” Maybe other shops would fold. In New York, the person inspecting the vehicle on behalf of the insurer must enter into negotiation to settle the claim. Game-point- match, as you can see it didn’t work out well, for them.
“Many companies now negotiate and settle the claims, at least the smarter ones," Orso said. "We’ve successfully settled hundreds of thousands of dollars in cases. Over $1 million in new assignment collections were filed in April. Some companies just don’t get it. It appears their attorneys are letting the meter run and having a grand old time. We’re not the bad guys, when they don’t respond to a “Notice of Deficiency” or address all the repair needs its over. I want the insurance company to pay the bill fairly. Insurers have been getting away with this nonsense for way too long.”