Geico’s Gecko Gets Grumpy
Geico whined about copyright infringement so I had to remove the image. They are wrong and don’t understand the Fair Use act, and I could easily win in court, but I’m not sticking my neck out for this industry any more.
Photoshop is a wonderful thing. Insurers creating more work for us is not. For those of you not on either Geico’s or Allstate’s DRP program, you’ve probably been acquainted with their new supplement request forms. I first received one from Allstate. Instead of picking up the phone and calling the supplement hot-line, I now have to fill out a full page form and fax it to a supplement fax number, then pray it got through and was processed.
Appraisers attach a copy of this form to their estimates in case we need a supplement ( yeah, like that’s a rare occurrence). I’m sure to some I sound like a whiner, but I really do have enough things to fill out during the day, I don’t need another form. Allstate wants too much information. And if they are going to attach the form to the estimate, why not have the form automatically filled in with all the administrative data and printed with the estimate. I know Allstate will flatly deny it, but I got the impression that they were trying to discourage small supplements by requiring this form to be filled and faxed.
It’s probably not legal in most states for Allstate to require body shops to jump through these hoops just to get a supplement assigned to an appraiser. But if someone complains Allstate may try to paint them as petty. Fortunately, I don’t mind being called names, and petty is as mild as name calling goes.
I did call and complain. Well, not exactly. I faxed to complain. But instead of faxing their sheet, I faxed a blank sheet of paper and wrote the shop name, phone number and claim number. Someone called and insisted we completely fill out their form. Not having decided how to handle this yet, I complied.
Knowing I would be filling out many of these in the future I wrote a little software program that uses information from the estimate to automatically fill out their form. It now takes about 30 seconds to do, thereby eliminating the disincentive to submit small supplements. As soon as I get the chance I will make the software available to everyone.
A couple of weeks after I received my first Allstate supplement request form, Geico jumped into the game. Gee, they don’t copy each other too much now do they?
A person by the name of Jay M. Vaden (his name was attached to the document) was given the task of coming up with Geico’s very own supplement request sheet. I give credit where due, and Mr. Vaden made his form much easier to fill out, with less information required, than Allstate’s form. Unfortunately for Geico, he used one of Geico’s logos at the top of the form–that cute little lizard with the funny accent. Then he made it available via email to shops that request it. That was a mistake, because my mood caused by another form to fill out got my creative juices flowing and encouraged me to Photoshop the little fella.
Again, giving credit where it’s due, Mr. Vaden thought ahead and locked the Microsoft Word document he created to prevent idiots like me, with too much time on their hands, from defiling his hard work. But that offers very little protection against someone like me who has the time and know how. I improved the gecko and converted the rest of the form to a .pdf form that you can fill out on your computer.
Yesterday I had my first opportunity to use the new and improved form to set up a supplement assignment and also to demonstrate my displeasure with having to fill out more unnecessary paperwork. Shortly after I faxed Geico’s new supplement request form I received a phone call from a very nice gentleman who worked in Geico’s claims department. He had a good sense of humor about the whole thing, but asked me to resend the original form. He was worried that because the supplement request would be a matter of record my little changes would not be warmly accepted in the ivory towers.
I explained that that was the whole point. It was a protest against insurers trying to control shops and causing us to change our ways of doing things. It was a protest against them requiring us to fill out a form for a task that a simple phone call used to take care of. He empathized, but his hands were tied. Being petty like I am, I refused to send the correct form. He said he would now have to call the adjuster and the adjuster would have to fill out the form and send it to the supplement request department. I thought to myself, “now that sounds like how it should be done, instead of trying to pass their work off to the body shop.”
I carefully spelled my name for the gentleman and made him aware of this website. I also promised to post the new and improved form for everyone to use. Click the link below and download the form for your own use. You may have to make some changes because this one is designed for use in the northeastern area. You’ll need the full version of Adobe Acrobat to make the changes, or you can copy the logo into MS Word and make your own form there. Or, if y0u ask nicely, I may be able to make the changes for you. Hopefully enough of you will use the form to convince the big wigs at Geico that we don’t like their new system. If not, I’ll be automating that form too.
As for Allstate? I’m working on it.
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