Potential predatory insurer practices the focus of new research project

June 21, 2011

June 21, 2011 — If you have information on legal cases involving recovery for collision repair services, the Automotive Education & Policy Institute (AEPI) is looking for your help.

The organization is seeking those documents for a research project examining potential predatory insurance practices. The project is funded through a grant from the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers.

“Too often we hear of situations in which an insurer flatly refuses to pay reasonable rates or for activities that the professional repairer has determined to be necessary for the safe and proper repair of a customer’s vehicle,” said E.L. Eversman, founder of the AEPI. “In the current economic times, many consumers simply cannot afford to pay for those repairs themselves and take their insurers to court for reimbursement. Insurers know this and engage in what we believe are predatory practices to avoid paying a claim in full.”

That means the consumer doesn’t get a proper repair or the shop is not fully paid for all of the work performed, Eversman said.

So, the AEPI created a section on its website, autoepi.org/Legal_Cases.html, devoted to legal cases. It will be used to document the issues and inform judges, attorneys and consumers of the frequency and results of the cases. Some materials are already posted, but the AEPI is looking for tips from the community.

“Most of these decisions come from small claims matters,” Eversman said. “They don’t get reported to any of the national legal databases where they are readily accessible, but these decisions can be important and influential. We just need to know about them so the AEPI can track down the materials for posting.”

Anyone with knowledge of such lawsuits, arbitrations or appraisal hearings can contact the AEPI at [email protected].

The AEPI is a nonprofit organization established to help consumers understand motor vehicle safety, insurance, repair and related issues. For more information, go to autoepi.org.

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