No Problem: This is How We Deal with Tough Adjusters in My Shop - BodyShop Business

No Problem: This is How We Deal with Tough Adjusters in My Shop

By David M. Rowe

I recently had a customer, who also happens to be a part-time employee in our service department, who was in need of a quarter window for her Ford Focus. This customer is insured with the "Good Hands People" at Allstate Insurance Company. My shop is also an Allstate PRO DRP. You’d think there’d be no problem.


The customer contacted her insurance company, reported the loss and stated that she wanted the repairs done at my shop. She was informed that she had full glass coverage and could go ahead and set up the appointment. My customer no sooner hung up the phone, and we received a call from Lynx Glass Services regarding this claim. From that point on, everything went downhill.

According to my phone conversation with the not-so-polite CSR at Lynx, we could replace the window only after agreeing to accept their Allstate rates. I was informed that I’d have to give a 59 percent discount off NAGS list price of the window, $39 flat labor and $21 for the kit. Typically in our market, this is an unheard-of discount on tempered glass.

Upon informing the CSR at Lynx about this, I was abruptly informed that she wouldn’t discuss any rates and that I had to accept this or not do the repair. At that point, I had to ask myself, "What happened to the customer’s right to have the car repaired at the shop of his choice? What happened to the shop’s right to a reasonable profit for a repair?"

Upon further investigation, I couldn’t even purchase this particular window for anything close to what Lynx said they’d authorize.

I ask everyone in our industry, "What’s happened with replacement of auto glass? Why are the prices so screwed-up? How did Lynx and SGC Glass get to be the ‘Big Dogs’ of the auto glass business?"

After two days of major negotiating, I received authorization for the cost of the glass with no markup.

Some victory for me, wasn’t it? Regardless, it still counts.

If I hadn’t been persistent in requesting the price increase, I would’ve lost about $300. Because they wouldn’t take my word on it, Lynx asked me to provide a proof of purchase. (Sounds like something off a cereal box, doesn’t it?) So, even though I’m not legally obligated to do this, I faxed them a copy of my paid receipt from Triumph Auto Glass. About an hour later, I received another call from Lynx. The CSR informed me that they wouldn’t authorize the additional money because I "sublet" the repair to Triumph. I promptly informed this person that Triumph dropped off the glass and that my techs installed the window. The CSR said that this was impossible because Triumph is an installer and doesn’t sell glass.

This initiated another discussion, during which I told Lynx that I have glass dropped off by Triumph at my shop every day, and I suggested that she contact my supplier to verify the facts. The following day, I received a call back from Lynx (again), stating they’d verified my information and would fax me the additional authorization paperwork.

Persistence in negotiating and providing proper supporting documentation — meaning parts invoices, sublet repair invoices, itemized bills, etc. — is necessary if you expect to get paid.

I’d like all who find themselves in a similar position to present this comment to the proper people. "These charges are REASONABLE AND CUSTOMARY within our market."

This is how we deal with tough adjusters in my shop, and I’m considering adding this statement to the disclaimers on our estimates and repair orders.

How many times have you seen this in the explanation of benefits on a health insurance claim? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. It’s time that we give the insurance industry a taste of their own medicine — but be prepared to back up what you state with the proper documentation. That’s how I won my minor victory this week.

But trust me, the battle continues.

Writer David M. Rowe is the body shop manager at Johnson Ford Inc. in Kingston, N.Y.

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