The Auto Body Association of Connecticut (ABAC) has
informed body shop owners in its state of potential violations by Allstate appraisers.
First, ABAC claims Allstate is currently instructing
its damage appraisers to disallow labor on any supplement involving "Labor
ABAC also claims that Allstate is mandating visual
inspections on all vehicles before any appraiser can authorize repairs to
start. In addition, Allstate is no longer permitting appraisers to accept body
shop photos. These appraisers have reportedly been instructed to disregard all
documented procedures performed by
a shop that didn’t wait for a supplement inspection.
ABAC feels these mandates cause unnecessary delays and
violate the following section of Connecticut law:
Appraiser Regulations § 38a790-8 states in relevant part
that every appraiser must: (2) approach the appraisal of damaged property
without prejudice against, or favoritism toward, any party involved in order to
make fair and impartial appraisals; [and] (3) disregard any efforts on the part
of others to influence his judgment in the interest of the parties involved.
"It is a direct violation of Connecticut law for any
appraiser to follow the directives or mandates of an insurer such as
Allstate," said William Romaniello, III, owner of All-Pro Collision Repair
in Southington, Conn. "Sanctions for violating the law can include
suspension, fines, being sued personally and loss of appraiser license.
"Remember, body shops repair vehicles for customers not insurance companies. The body shop’s obligation is to provide a safe
repair in a timely fashion. If Allstate is refusing to pay rightful charges,
you have the right to charge your customer the difference, or hold the vehicle
until paid in full."
ABAC says Connecticut law allows repair facilities to charge for storage and/or bay tie-up caused by "any delay beyond our control." All charges must be conspicuously posted on the wall of a shop per DMV law.
ABAC is encouraging shops experiencing unnecessary
delays or monies owed to have their customers contact the appraiser so that the
appraiser can explain why these practices are occurring, noting that all
appraisers are rated by their customer service. Customers should contact
Allstate CEO Thomas Wilson at (847) 402-5000.
ABAC is also recommending
that customers file written complaints with the Department of Insurance.
ABAC asks that repairers monitor and record
instances in which they observe a Connecticut-licensed Allstate appraiser
following the above stated mandates. They should notify ABAC by completing
an Incident Report and faxing it to (860) 283-4154.