Consumer advocate/attorney Erica Eversman has sent a letter to the Ohio Department of Insurance (DOI) regarding insurance companies’ use of unregistered collision repair facilities in their DRP networks and also the DOI’s failure to address the issue despite her and others’ actions.
“For the last several years, the Ohio Board of Motor Vehicle Collision Repair Registration, collision repair organizations, individual collision repairers, activists and concerned citizens like myself have repeatedly brought this serious issue to the Ohio Department of Insurance with no result,” the letter, addressed to Director of Policy Susan Real, reads.
Eversman goes on to say that she personally met with two officials of the DOI on two separate dates to alert them of the issue but has so far not received a response. She said the first meeting was with Superintendent Mary Jo Hudson on June 11, 2007, and the second was with Anne Jewel, the DOI’s regulatory ombudsman and assistant director of policy, on March 14, 2008.
Eversman claims that the DOI’s inaction is the result of the office consistently taking the position that it has no jurisdiction to prohibit insurance companies from using unregistered collision repair businesses in their DRPs or has no responsibility to prevent insurers from recommending illegally operating repair facilities to consumers.
“No one has asked the Department of Insurance to make collision repair shops comply with the registration requirements set forth in Ohio Revised Code 4775.01. That is the responsibility of the Ohio Board of Motor Vehicle Collision Repair Registration and enforced via the Attorney General’s office,” Eversman says. “We have only asked this Department to hold insurers accountable for their acts of recommending that consumers patronize illegally operating collision repair facilities.”
Hudson could not be reached for comment, but in a previous article published in the March 2008 issue of BodyShop Business, she stated that insurers recommending unregistered shops “is an issue and we will continue to look into it. We’ve been in the process of doing some restructuring and other work here, but it’s a very valid point.”
Even though the Ohio DOI has not confirmed action on this issue yet, Bob Gorman, manager of Sharon Woods Body Shop & Service in Sharonville, Ohio, said he believes the office must have sent a letter out to all insurance companies because American Family e-mailed him to say that all shops on its DRP program must forward copies of their registrations by Nov. 21 to remain on the program.