Traveler’s Joins Other Insurers in the Gutter

November 25, 2007 by
Filed under: Collision Repair Industry 

You have to give some of these people credit for their creativity, and their tenacity when trying to come up with ways to screw you out of a few dollars. The insurers must have some committee where members brainstorm, trying to find little ways to carve up your repair bill. Never underestimate their desire to cut costs and the depths they will dive into the sewer to attain those cuts. A few dollars here and a few dollars there…insurers don’t really have any boundaries when it comes to relieving you of your hard earned money. Traveler’s, a company that, at least in my area of the country, has avoided some of the sleazy tactics has come up with a new trick. Have you seen this one?

For a couple of months now I’ve noticed that Travelers has been redefining ADP’s (or Audatex as they are now called) P-Pages. With a little creativity they have managed to eliminate their need to pay you for protecting the vehicle from overspray and enabling the finish on your plastic bumpers to expand and contract with the plastic. Now, under the entry for “Car cover” there is a little note stating something to the effect that according to ADP’s P-Pages covering the vehicle for overspray is included in the initial setup time for refinishing. Same goes for Flex Additive. ADP says it’s included in the refinish setup time.

Believe it or not, they are correct. I just double checked ADP’s P-Pages and sure enough covering the vehicle to protect it from overspray and adding flexible additive to the paint is included in the setup time listed on the first refinished panel. I even called ADP’s tech support line and verified it with them.

Unfortunately, ADP is only talking about the labor time needed to cover the car and pour the flex additive into the paint. It doesn’t include the materials costs. Clearly listed in the “Not Included” column, in fact, the very last item in the list, is “Paint and Materials.”

Duh! It’s kind of obvious. A no-brainer. You’d have to be a retard to think that ADP meant labor and materials when they listed covering the vehicle and adding flexible additive to your paint in the “Included Items” column. Travelers doesn’t hire retards. They do, however, hire people smart enough to know that many in our industry are retarded. If Travelers says car cover and flex additive are included according to ADP, it must be true.

I confronted Travelers appraisers about this flim flam. I was given their supervisors phone number. The supervisor told me he would consult with his supervisor. Because I use my Paint and Materials Calculator to determine what I charge for materials, it is not a problem for me. It’s not something I have to deal with. But the rest of you…someone needs to step up and take on this fight. ADP made it very clear to me that Travelers was misusing this information, or to be more politic, Travelers misunderstood the P-Pages.

I’ve always had a good relationship with Travelers and their appraisers. But like the rest of the big insures, Travelers’ head honchos are enamored with the perceived success of the bottom feeders, and they are willing to try some of these bottom feeders’ tactics to keep up. First Travelers jumped on the GPS tracking, live dispatch bandwagon, driving their appraisers to the brink of mass mutiny. Now they are trying some of the sleazy, slippery tricks of those inhabiting the bottom of the JD Power’s satisfaction index. Apparently a position at the bottom of this list is a coveted honor.

As I said earlier, I really don’t care if Travelers corrects this error. I charge for my actual materials costs, plus a reasonable profit. But someone should scream bloody murder and force Travelers to fix their appraisers’ computers. Figure $5.00 per RO for Car Cover and $12.00 per RO for flex, $17 for every estimate Travelers writes is making someone in the glass tower very happy. How’s it make you feel? Care for one of those inflatable donuts?

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2 Comments on Traveler’s Joins Other Insurers in the Gutter

  1. Bob Isham on Mon, 26th Nov 2007 7:59 am
  2. Just to let you know Travelers has been pulling the same stunts here. They also play the “tint is included” card which is really not true. Audatex only includes the initial mix and one tint cyle. Very few shops have the ability to tint to a blendable match on the first try and you are right that most shops are not able to wage the fight due to lack of knowledge and a high percentage of retardation.

    Over 30 years ago I was a proud insurance agent for Travelers and they were considered one of the very best. Our dogma was “pay the claim and be fair”. Sadly most insurers have lost touch with a quality claims settlement opting instead for a “cheap” one. Like Maaco who use the “we are cheaper” pitch the insurers have abandoned the “we are better” concept and it seems they have decided that as an industry by spending $1.7 billion dollars on advertising they can increase sales and profits. The thought is “you don’t have to be good, just advertise and sell like hell”.

    It seems like the gutter is getting more crowded with the likes of Travelers and many others.

  3. Keith on Sat, 9th Feb 2008 10:45 pm
  4. If you look at the Ppages for both Mitchell and ADP, they have both opted to include cover car and flex as included in the refinish time. My argument is that if the item is included, please tell me the amount of time assigned to each. If your P&M is calculated based on a material rate times refinish hours, then the materials would be included.

    With illegal caps on materials, I have been providing invoices to justify my material costs. And like my partner and I said, if the invoice is higher, then they will pay based on the material rate calculation without a cap, but if the invoice is lower, then they pay based on the invoice. There are way too much insurer corruption that goes unchecked in this world and we are to blame.

    I’ve been turning items like this over to the State Dept of Revenue – Sales Tax dept. Each dollar that they do not pay my shop, they do not pay the sales tax to the state. It is tax evasion.

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