The Automotive Service Association’s (ASA) Collision Operations Committee is expressing concern about a State Farm document on scanning released at the recent Collision Industry Conference (CIC) meeting in Nashville.
The document outlines State Farm’s position on vehicle scanning for their Select Service shops and acknowledges the company does give consideration to OEM position statements on required vehicle scanning procedures after a collision event. However, it says “such statements are often general in nature and not specific to a particular year, make, model, type of damage or even repair scenario.”
Due to what the document describes as the OEM position statements’ “broad and general nature, we consider them on a case-by-case basis, evaluating specific facts, vehicle equipment and damage specific to a particular loss.”
The document then goes on to state that “Select Service repairers are responsible for determining when a pre- or post-scan is necessary to properly repair a vehicle.”
“This document raises several concerns,” said Scott Benavidez, former ASA Collision Division director and owner of Mr. B’s Paint & Body Shop in Albuquerque, N.M. “In the view of the ASA Collision Operations Committee, the wording is vague and fails to offer specifics which will only cause more confusion among appraisers and shops on what State Farm is looking for in the various scenarios. It also can be interpreted to clearly place the liability for any decision on whether or not to scan a vehicle on the repair shop and would seem to give State Farm the option of denying payment for such scanning at their discretion, regardless of the OEM position statement on the vehicle in question.”
This, Benavidez said, can place the repairer in an untenable position.
“Many OEMs have changed their position on pre- and post-repair scanning from ‘recommended’ to ‘required’ for a reason,” he said. “The recent court judgment against a Texas collision shop for failing to follow manufacturer repair procedures has resulted in ASA advocating for the adoption of OEM repair procedures due to liability concerns and the position that the use of OEM repair procedures are necessary to ensure a safe and proper collision repair.”
Benavidez also pointed out that the document is full of conflicting and redundant statements. It sets an arbitrary maximum of .5 hours to cover the cost of both pre- and post-repair scans absent a time provided by the shop’s estimating software, which may not be sufficient to cover the real-world scan time required with respect to the damage. That same .5 maximum time allowance is applied to shops using third-party, remote-vehicle scanning services without regard for the actual charge the vendor may assess the shop.
“We are most concerned with the potential for the repair decision to be taken out of the hands of the technical experts by State Farm without regard for the OEM requirements,” said Benavidez. “The repair decision should reside with the professional accepting liability for a proper repair assuring quality and safety for the consumer.”