Washington Collision Repairer Addresses State Farm Over Short-Pays - BodyShop Business
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Washington Collision Repairer Addresses State Farm Over Short-Pays

Shop owner writes letters to State Farm over insurer’s refusal to pay for feather, prime and block and repair procedures recommended by vehicle manufacturers.

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A Seattle, Wash., collision repair facility owner has taken action against State Farm to receive compensation for feather, prime and block and other repair procedures recommended by vehicle manufacturers.

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Jeff Haury, president of Haury’s Lake City Collision, wrote a letter to local State Farm management personnel regarding their refusal to pay for procedures he deems necessary to properly restore a vehicle to pre-loss condition. He included a 2006 study from CIC/ASA/SCRS on feather, prime and block with all the documentation and time studies to bolster his argument.

Here is the letter in its entirety:

We are writing to address an issue that we are having with your field appraiser.

Your field estimators write estimates for sheet metal repair and claim that, as part of the repair labor they allocate for said repairs, that the operation Feather, Prime & Block is an included operation in the sheet metal repairs.

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Obviously, Feather, Prime & Block is an operation performed in the paint shop by a painter or painter’s assistant in a controlled spraying environment and not performed by a body tech in the body shop. However, when we question your field appraisers about said operation, they refuse to discuss the matter with us in any substantive manner and say the following: ‘We are following direction from State Farm Management, I will not discuss it with you. Call us if you have any questions.’

We are writing to request that you explain your position since your field staff refuse to provide any explanation and direct us to speak to you. Please address the following:

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  • Please explain how Feather, Prime & Block – which is a refinish operation – is included in a body repair operation.
  • Please explain how this operation is to be performed without primer and related materials since State Farm claims that ‘Feather, Prime & Block’ is included in the body repair labor they estimate, however provide no compensation for the paint & materials required for this operation.
  • The CIC committee addressed the issue of Feather, Prime & Block in 2006 and determined this operation is a separate operation from any other operation. Both ASA and SCRS agree with this statement. The included ASA study and worksheet provide clarity into this matter and is an accepted industry standard. Please explain why State Farm refuses to acknowledge this widely accepted industry standard by refusing to pay for this required repair procedure.

We request you provide a written response to our questions.

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Happy New Year,

Jeff Butler

Butler also wrote a letter to State Farm regarding their refusal to pay for repair procedures recommended by the manufacturer, specifically a zero point calibration:

We are writing to you today for clarification regarding the ‘vehicle system scan post collision’ issue we recently discussed with State Farm. 

In a recent interaction with your field appraiser, he communicated to our staff that State Farm was not going to pay for the vehicle health scan listed on our invoice for services. When we questioned him as to why State Farm would not be paying for the vehicle health scan that is required by the vehicle manufacturer, he stated that this procedure was not necessary to repair the vehicle to pre-loss condition.

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We informed him that we had recently been in a seminar with Mike Anderson with Collision Advice and communicated that almost all vehicle manufacturers are now requiring a diagnostic of the vehicles safety systems post collision. He replied that the estimatics team manager is an I-CAR instructor and that he had spoken with you about the matter. According to him, you had stated that a vehicle health scan (zero point calibration) was NOT required.  Furthermore, he stated his estimatics manager’s opinion was more credible than that of independent collision repair trainer Mike Anderson with Collision Advice, therefore State Farm would NOT be paying for said procedure.

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After the above interaction, we wrote State Farm for an official statement regarding this necessary procedure. You responded by calling me to discuss the matter. We spoke for more than an hour.

From that phone call, you stated the following:

  • ICAR defaults to manufacturers’ requirements first
  • You are not a currently practicing I-CAR instructor
  • State Farm will only pay what State Farm deems to be competitive pricing in the market regardless of whether or not repair shops are incorrectly repairing vehicles based on those prices, even vehicles repaired at State Farm-approved shops. 
  • You were not willing to agree to pay for the manufacturer’s required vehicle system scan post collision at this point. You stated that you were going to contact State Farm corporate and see if they were going to authorize you to pay for said vehicle system scan post collision.

To date, State Farm has not responded to our inquiry and continues to refuse to pay for vehicle manufacturer required repair procedures. We are left with your statement as well as the appraiser’s statement that State Farm will not pay for a vehicle system scan post collision. If you wish to revise your position, please provide a written statement. 

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