In an effort to provide a more efficient and simpler way for non-Circle of Dependability shops to submit estimates, Farmers Insurance announced that it has launched a new Web-based program to submit
estimates and supplements for approval. The new program, Choices, will accept any of the three major
estimating software systems.
To participate in the Choices program, a shop must register on the website, www.theshopofchoice.com/farmers. When a shop receives Choices claims information from the customer, they simply log in to the website and submit the estimate, photos and, if needed, request supplements. The estimate (Audatex, CCC or Mitchell) is accepted through the website and imported into the Farmers claims system. No rekeying of estimates will be required to upload the data, creating a more efficient process for both shop and insurer. If a shop does not have one of the three major estimating systems, it can still use the website to submit images and the estimate. The estimate will be rekeyed by Farmers using its preferred estimating system.
In managing the claim, the shop can follow the status through the website and, if needed, communicate with claims staff. Shops that are already registered to the "Shop of Choice" for other insurance companies do not need to register again to participate in the Farmers Choices website. Once in the website, the shop will choose the option to submit a new estimate or request a supplement on a previously written estimate by a Farmers appraiser.
This program is designed and developed around the NuGen IT, Inc. Collision Data Exchange Technology.
“Anything we can use to help streamline the process is good, and we’re looking forward to using this with more insurance companies,” said Mark Martin of Ankeny Auto Body, Ankeny, Iowa.
Added Jake Torrey, collision department manager of Salt Lake City Ken Garff Dealerships, “I really like this program. Our managers are using this from several insurance companies and finding that it creates a more efficient and claims handling process for the shop, ultimately helping our customer.”
“Customer Shop of Choice technology continues to be received very well by the collision repair industry," said Pete Tagliapietra from NuGen IT. "While a few shops have been reluctant to move from fax and email, since August of 2011, more than 29,000 shops are now registered for the insurance clients we serve.”
While neither Farmers nor NuGen IT were available to discuss the rollout of Choices, it is believed the program will be implemented nationwide before the end of 2013.