Mike Orso, president of Nick Orso’s Body Shop in Syracuse, New York, has announced that Esurance has settled various “short pay” claims totaling more than $6,000 with his shop for various repair items, 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 Nick Orso’s.
“The outside council of Bousquet-Holstein PLLC handled this collection and did a great job," said Joseph Talarico, Orso’s attorney. "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 who won’t give up. The mere fact that they’re incurring legal expenses 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 pushback."
Added Mike Orso, “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. 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 price. 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-set-match as you can see, it didn’t work out well for them.
“Many companies, at least the smarter ones, now negotiate and settle the claims. We’ve successfully settled hundreds of thousands of dollars in cases. More than $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, it’s over. I want the insurance company to pay the bill fairly. Insurers have been getting away with this nonsense for way too long. The jig is up.”