ADP’s Infidelity; and State Farm Succumbs to Pressure

November 18, 2004 by
Filed under: Uncategorized 

Most crooks get caught because they can?t keep their stories straight. It?s pathetic. If you?re going to lie, you have to come up with a plausible story, and more importantly, you have to stick to it. Also, you cannot assume that the people you are lying to are stupid enough to be fooled. This is, perhaps, the biggest mistakes crooks and liars make. They assume no one is smarter than they are. And because crooks and liars usually aren?t too smart themselves, they greatly underestimate the intelligence of the people they are lying to. ADP has made this classic mistake and they have been caught red handed.

As everyone knows by now ADP?s October update includes paint times that, on average, are about 10% lower than they were the previous month. By some mysterious act of divine intervention, all collision repairers using ADP have suddenly found a way to decrease the time it takes to paint most panels by 10%. How did you do it folks? Share your secret.

ADP?s official response is that there was a problem with their database, and somehow, inadvertently, database procedure times were reduced in their October update, But they?ll make certain their next update corrects the problem. Don?t believe it. The only problem with their database was that the insurance industry complained about ADP?s reasonable paint times. The insurance industry is their bread and butter. The insurance industry whined and ADP changed their diapers. They then took those diapers and used the contents to explain to the collision repair industry what happened. Thus, the load of crap they call an explanation.

As a software developer I can assure you, databases don?t just randomly change selected data by themselves. They can be corrupted (much like insurance companies and database suppliers), but the corruption would usually make the database unusable. However, it is quite easy to write a little piece of code that tells the database to decrease certain data entries meeting certain parameters by a certain percentage. Or rules can be written into the codes affecting the calculations for clear coats. Heck, you could even program the code to only affect the software of selected user based on their serial numbers. But ADP is trying to tell us there was an unintended global change of the database? Nah, does not compute. And neither does ADP?s new refinish times.

Like I said earlier, crooks and liars fail at their evil deeds because of their inability to keep their stories straight, or due to their arrogance and assumption that their victims? intelligence is such that they will believe everything they are told. ADP thought you were all idiots. ADP also failed to create an explanation and inform its employees to use this explanation when irate collision repairers–their customers–called and demanded an explanation. So while ADP?s official explanation blamed this mess on an error, ADP?s tech support personnel were telling users that the decreased times were due to new time studies. Time studies? Can someone out there confirm that any of the database providers have spent time in their shop doing time studies? And does any sane shop owner believe that if new times studies were actually performed by ADP their databases would reflect decreasing paint times? How about the moronic, artificial blend formula that uses 50% of the base paint time? All three database providers refuse to change this to the more realistic 110% of base paint time. If time studies are being performed in the real world, how come blend times are still from the stone aged lacquer days? Time studies my ass.

I?ve talked with several of you who were told by ADP tech support that the lowered times reflected the latest time studies. But I?ve also talked with a few insurance industry people who brought to my attention a meeting ADP held recently for insurers. Details are sketchy because little is known or being revealed, but according to my sources ADP was concerned about its diminishing market share in the insurance industry, and wanted some input from insurers. What could ADP do to seduce more insurers into bed with them? Now you all know the answer. From what I?m told the meeting was held in Pennsylvania. If anyone has more information, please fill me in.

I?ve been trying to talk with someone from ADP, someone who can and will answer my questions. I talked to a nice guy in their sales department who assured me he would have someone call me. No one called. But someone did stop by my shop to talk to me?..at 6:30 in the evening. You people who are buried in DRP charity work may still be in your office at 6:30 pm, but I?m at home eating dinner by then. The person who stopped by, apparently, a local sales person, left me a note to call her for an interview. I called and no one has returned my call. So let?s look at this again. I called ADP, and no one who can answer my questions returns my call. Several days later, someone from ADP stops by my office at bed time. She leaves me a note to call her for an interview, but never returns my call. If I didn?t know any better I?d swear they were trying to avoid speaking with me. That?s silly, they would never do that.

Unless you?re retarded you can see what?s happening here. Mitchell is becoming the software of choice for the insurance industry. Insurers are switching to Mitchell because of their notoriously stingy labor times. ADP understands the estimating software market is insurance company dominated, and without an appeal to that market, they could be left behind in the future. And they have little that appeals to collision repairers, especially now.

ADP said they are rolling back any changes to labor times in their next update. That?s kind of like catching your wife in bed with another guy, and she tells you she?ll take a shower, rinse out, make you dinner and promise never to do it again. Would you trust her? Would you even touch her again? Will you trust that ADP won?t gradually sneak in those decreased labor times? They realize they screwed up, not by decreasing labor times, but by decreasing them in one big swipe. They won?t make that mistake again. But they?re committed now. Their plan must be followed through. It will just be done quietly and carefully. You aren?t as stupid as ADP thinks you are. You were paying attention, and you caught them red handed.

I know that if I caught my wife in bed with another guy she?d be out the door before she had time to get dressed, let alone take a shower. I think most would do the same. Think about the trust you put in your database provider. You keep clicking that mouse button, trusting the life?s blood of your entire business?labor hours?to a company that plays both side of the fence. You have to depend on that company to supply you with fair and accurate information. You?ve now been betrayed. Are you going to trust ADP in the future? Are you going to continue sending them your hard earned money every month? Or will you be filing for divorce? And what are you going to do to get all the money back you lost by working off ADP estimates for the past month or two? Do you think ADP will be reimbursing you?

Just in case those of you using CCC were wondering if you?ve been cheated on also, I did an experiment. I printed three old estimates I had put in CCC?s storage folder. The estimates ranged from two to five years old. I copied all three estimates item for item, making changes only for parts prices (I was amazed at how much some of the parts prices increased). Here are the results. I?ll let you decide how CCC is handling insurer pressure.

1998 Volvo S70. Original estimate: $1612.85; New estimate: $1612.85
2000 Saab 9-5. Original estimate: $3159.33; New estimate: $3141.73
1998 Subaru Impreza. Original estimate: $1697.25; New estimate: $1588.71

I have no access to Mitchell?s estimating software. Maybe one of you can try this experiment with Mitchell and let us know what they?ve been doing with their labor times lately.

On another note. My source at State Farm Insurance has now confirmed that they have suspended their annual surveys. I know, I know, I was told they weren?t ending the practice. Apparently, this manager wasn?t informed of the plans. This is not good. Many collision repairers rely on insurance companies to set their labor rates. In areas where State Farm insures large numbers of drivers, their labor rate survey was often the spur that goosed the labor rates higher. Even in Connecticut where they have just started selling insurance and have a very small share of the market, their survey was an icon used by those of us fighting for fairness and justice. We often use their survey in our arguments with the Insurance Department and Attorney General. Did the rest of the insurance industry put pressure on State Farm to end this practice? Or did the pressure come from within?

All is not lost though, at least not yet. You can go to State Farm?s website and print out a survey form, fill it out and mail it in. You can also fill one out online, but you?ll have to call your local State Farm claims office and ask for your shop ID number. Any shop that has filled out a survey form in the past will have a shop ID number on file. If you do fill out the online survey, be sure to call the claims office a couple of days later to make sure they received it. My source at State Farm told me that any survey sent in will be added to their database and a new average will be calculated. Whether that will actually happen remains to be seen. Copy and paste this link into the address bar of your browser to get to the survey (http://b2b.statefarm.com/b2b/roles/arf_public/rfs.asp). The menu on the left gives you the option of the ?automated survey? or the ?paper form.?

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Comments

16 Comments on ADP’s Infidelity; and State Farm Succumbs to Pressure

  1. Rob Johnson, IL on Thu, 18th Nov 2004 12:37 pm
  2. Good article, but nothing new.

    I could share with you some really good stories about ADP’s sales staff….its down right unlawful!

    But I will start with this…our ADP rep, "Richie" sure was braggin about how high the refinish times were with ADP while he was waiting for me to sign the contract. Sounds like breech?

  3. STEVE on Thu, 18th Nov 2004 1:43 pm
  4. I TOOK A FILE FOLDER WITH APPROX. 10-12 ESTIMATE WRITTEN WITH ADP, CCC & MITCHELL TO NACE & VISITED THE MITCHELL BOOTH. I ASK A REGIONAL SALES DIRECTOR TO EXPLAIN TO ME WHY ALL OF MITCHELL ESTIMATE ARE AS MUCH AS 25% LESS THAN ADP OR CCC. HE SAID THAT I DID NOT KNOW HOW TO USE THERE SYSTEM. I SAID I MIGHT NOT. WOULD YOU TEACH ME?? HE SAID HE WOULD TAKE THESE ESTIMATE AND REVIEW THEM AND HE WOULD CALL ME BACK.IT HAS BEEN TWO WEEKS TODAY AND I’M STILL WAITING FOR HIM TO CALL. WE ALL NEED TO STAND UP TO THE INFORMATION PROVIDERS. WE ALL PAY THEM MONEY TO. I THINK IT IS VERY WRONG FOR AN INSURANCE COMPANY TO SAY YOU HAVE TO HAVE A CERTAIN ESTIMATING SYSTEM TO BE ON THERE PROGRAM. I AGREE THAT MITCHELL IS TAKING OVER THE MARKET FOR THE INSURANCE SIDE BECAUSE OF THERE LOW UNFAIR LABOR TIMES. THERE SYSTEM IS VERY DIFFICULT TO USE. THERE ARE 10 SHOPS IN MY AREA THAT ARE ON CERTAIN DRP PROGRAM AND EVERYONE OF THEM ARE UNHAPPY WITH THE MITCHELL SYSTEM. AFTER CAREFUL COMPARISIOM BETWEEN THREE ESTIMATING SYSTEMS (ADP,CCC PATHWAYS & ULTIMATE) WITH ADHERANCE TO "P PAGES" GUIDELINES, WE FIND THERE IS ALMOST ALWAYS A SEVEN TO FIFTEEN PERCENT DIFFERENCE IN THE BOTTOM LINE TOTAL,WITH ULTIMATE ALWAYS BEING LESSER OF THE THREE. OUR ONLY CONCLUSION(S) YOUR TIME STUDIES ARE FLAWED, OR YOU ARE BEING INFLUENCED BY INSURANCE COMPANIES. (MAYBE BOTH) WE ALL CAN’T BE WRONG.

  5. Scott Barelmann on Fri, 19th Nov 2004 8:16 am
  6. I have a question for everyone. Have any of you ever ASKED to see a time study tape? I have and the responses from each database provider were the lamest answers I could have imagined!! ADP, CCC, and Mitchell all said the EXACT SAME THING! "The information you requested is propriatary and confidential to us." I offered to sign a confidentiality agreement to not share their information with anyone. No luck there either.
    My question is this. If this is propriatary and confidential, where did it come from? C.I.A.? Dept. of Homeland Security? F.B.I.? According to all of the providers their time studies are done in "real shops", their own people, and the O.E.M. manuals. Does anyone know of a shop that has had time studies done at their location? Didn’t think so. My guess is that when those time studies were done in the shops, the technicians were wisked off to AREA 51 so they would not be tempted to divulge the "propriatary and confidential" labor times to anyone else. No witnesses equals no proof!
    John, in reference to one of your other statements about Mitchell labor times, I have done several comparisons between them and the other two database providers. The results will probably surprise you. Mitchell CONSISTANTLY come out higher. On average 9%. BUT (there always is a but). For example, to use a 2000 Escort radiator support replacement, ADP will require you to choose the part and choose to refinish it. ALL LABOR OPERATIONS
    THAT ARE NEEDED TO REPLACE THE SUPPORT ARE IN THE TIME THAT IS SHOWN. The estimators’ working time to write that estimate, not including entering the administrative information, 3.5 minutes! That includes entering Anti freeze, A/C re-charge, aim headlamps, and information label replacement!! On to Mitchell. Most of the required operations for this procedure are NOT included in their time study. The way I compared the two systems was to print a labor operations report from my ADP system and make sure each operation was chosen in the Mitchell database. When it is done this way the Mitchell system will print .8 higher labor!! The problem lies in the time required to go find each of those operations! I don’t consider myself a computer guru, however, I am not that slow, either. 16 minutes later I have finished my Mitchell estimate! To me, taking 5 times as long to write the same estimate is just plain ludicrous!! Think about how long it would take to write a hard hit. The insurance companies that want you to use Mitchell are banking on us not being smart enough to figure out how to use the entire system. In addition, those of us that do figure it out recieve calls from the insurance companies that (you guessed it, her it comes) NO ONE ELSE AROUND WRITES THEIR ESTIMATES LIKE THAT!! Of course my standadrd response is "don’t punish me for their stupidity. If it is part of the requirements, we should get paid for it." That is how Mitchell is marketing their product to the insurance companies. And, at this point, it has been very successful. I have also heard that Mitchell is soon going to have a operation called "BLEND PAINT WITHIN A REPAIRED PANEL! If true, WHERE THE HELL DID THAT COME FROM!! Mitchell useres, please call or e-mail or demand a Congressional investigation!! This can not be allowed to be published!
    Yes, I have called or e-mailed everyone I can think of!!

  7. D.P. on Fri, 19th Nov 2004 11:59 am
  8. WE have been using ADP for a few years now and this is the last straw we will be Dropping ADP over this ordeal we used to use mitchell but the other manager liked ADP he claimed you make better money with ADP How ever trying to get paid is allways a fight and one that ADP will not go to bat for you. we had some conflicts with state farm about ADP’s time allowences and when we told ADP This should be their battle and that they should have a talk to state farm ADP dropped the ball and DID NOT BACK US AT ALL. I would suggest that every one DROP ADP for their obvious conspireing colluding corruptive activitys. Maybe atleast if every one dropped them mabye all of the others will atleast get the message that there is alittle more strenth out here than they thought. just this week though ccc was short buy one hour on paint time for a saturn bumper cover & a lt fender, ADP ALLOWED 6.5 TO CCC’S 5.5 I Believe that ther is a conspiracy bettween the Insurance companys And the imformation providers as well as the soft wear providers. Its good to see that ther are some watch dogs out there on our side of the industry Its just to Bad that the Goverment doesnt see.? Didnt AL Cappone invent insurance companys? any ways thats a different isue. I will deffinatly Drop ADP who would be the best choice????

  9. Nick, NJ on Wed, 24th Nov 2004 1:21 pm
  10. Don’t sugar coat it, John. Tell us how you really feel. Great article. We have a conference call scheduled with ADP next week, & will be asking several questions that have been avoided thus far. By the way, be careful when you get your November CD. It apparently reverts the database back to September conditions, but causes other incorrect "operational issues" [their phrase]that prevent you from using it to clean up the October CD mess. It also includes a new feature that makes it even easier to perform mechanical labor at sheet metal rates!

  11. Dirtyneckgeorge on Tue, 30th Nov 2004 6:19 am
  12. Whine, whine whine… It’s absolutely amazing to me that you guys find these so-called database errors where you are being cheated, yet it’s never the other way when you’re getting paid to much???
    So: Mitchell is succumbing to the Insurance Industry??? Yeah right. You guys are absolutely P.O’d if your tech’s aren’t beating the flat rate by 25%. Yet when they beat it by 50% you don’t complain then…
    Yes, I work for a major Insurer and yes I am in Management. I see it all, the garbage you send in supplements for, all the while cheating like dogs on the estimate to begin with.
    Maybe you should clean up your own industry and get to the point of charging a fair price to do a quality job?

    RESPONSE FROM AUTHOR:
    Yes, Dirty Neck George, you work for State Farm. I wonder how your boss would appreciate your childish B.S. written from your company computer. Maybe our readers will call State Farm and ask. If you had half a brain you would understand that your measely $40 or $45 per labor hour is 50% of what mechanical shops get. If we don’t beat flat rate times by 50% we go out of business. Sitting on your fat ass in some office working for State Farm leaves you as dumb and ignorant about database issues as the database providers are about repairing cars. You shame your company Georgie Porgie.

  13. mike @ lnm autobody calif on Sun, 16th Jan 2005 8:27 pm
  14. just read your article, when i signed up for adp i was told all information came directly from the manufacturer, be sure i will be trying your test

  15. mike @ lnm autobody calif on Sun, 16th Jan 2005 8:27 pm
  16. just read your article, when i signed up for adp i was told all information came directly from the manufacturer, be sure i will be trying your test

  17. Tom Rompel on Mon, 17th Jan 2005 10:30 am
  18. Thank you for the accurate reporting. The evidence for colusion between ADP and the insurance companies is abundent. Recently an appraiser from Allstate was in my shop and gave me his completed estimate. Allstate uses ADP in their writing of estimates. I noticed that "tint color" was in the body labor category and requested he put it were it belongs in the refinish category. He told me he couldn’t and showed me why….it was already pre-programed in his system in body labor and he had no way of changing it. Hmmmmm…….interesting! How come my ADP version has and has always had "tint color" in the refinish category and Allstates version has it in body labor? Not that you need validation of your article but none the less here is some more proof about which you speak.

  19. Tom Rompel on Mon, 17th Jan 2005 10:32 am
  20. Thank you for the accurate reporting. The evidence for colusion between ADP and the insurance companies is abundent. Recently an appraiser from Allstate was in my shop and gave me his completed estimate. Allstate uses ADP in their writing of estimates. I noticed that "tint color" was in the body labor category and requested he put it were it belongs in the refinish category. He told me he couldn’t and showed me why….it was already pre-programed in his system in body labor and he had no way of changing it. Hmmmmm…….interesting! How come my ADP version has and has always had "tint color" in the refinish category and Allstates version has it in body labor? Not that you need validation of your article but none the less here is some more proof about which you speak.

  21. VICTOR G OF PA on Fri, 28th Jan 2005 7:44 am
  22. HEY ALL OUT THERE. EVERYONE KNOWS(INCLUDING THE INS CO’S) JUST ADD MORE TIME TO THE REPAIR PANELS TO MAKE UP THE MONEY THAT YOU GET SCREWED FOR ON THE REST OF THE ESTIMATE. REMEMBER,ONE HR BECOMES TWO…THREE…AND SO FORTH, DONE DEAL.

  23. VICTOR G OF PA on Fri, 28th Jan 2005 7:45 am
  24. HEY ALL OUT THERE. EVERYONE KNOWS(INCLUDING THE INS CO’S) JUST ADD MORE TIME TO THE REPAIR PANELS TO MAKE UP THE MONEY THAT YOU GET SCREWED FOR ON THE REST OF THE ESTIMATE. REMEMBER,ONE HR BECOMES TWO…THREE…AND SO FORTH, DONE DEAL.

  25. VICTOR G OF PA on Fri, 28th Jan 2005 7:45 am
  26. HEY ALL OUT THERE. EVERYONE KNOWS(INCLUDING THE INS CO’S) JUST ADD MORE TIME TO THE REPAIR PANELS TO MAKE UP THE MONEY THAT YOU GET SCREWED FOR ON THE REST OF THE ESTIMATE. REMEMBER,ONE HR BECOMES TWO…THREE…AND SO FORTH, DONE DEAL.

  27. VICTOR G OF PA on Fri, 28th Jan 2005 7:46 am
  28. HEY ALL OUT THERE. EVERYONE KNOWS(INCLUDING THE INS CO’S) JUST ADD MORE TIME TO THE REPAIR PANELS TO MAKE UP THE MONEY THAT YOU GET SCREWED FOR ON THE REST OF THE ESTIMATE. REMEMBER,ONE HR BECOMES TWO…THREE…AND SO FORTH, DONE DEAL.

  29. VICTOR G OF PA on Fri, 28th Jan 2005 7:46 am
  30. HEY ALL OUT THERE. EVERYONE KNOWS(INCLUDING THE INS CO’S) JUST ADD MORE TIME TO THE REPAIR PANELS TO MAKE UP THE MONEY THAT YOU GET SCREWED FOR ON THE REST OF THE ESTIMATE. REMEMBER,ONE HR BECOMES TWO…THREE…AND SO FORTH, DONE DEAL.

  31. William Sommerville on Sun, 6th Jun 2010 9:20 am
  32. I used DEG to prove that i was writing correctly in a situation with allstate. They say that they dont pay for adjacent panel repair and refinish in innerstructure break downs ( replacing top tie bar and lt lamp pocket in a core support assembly) when replacing the lt lamp pocket you affect the rail and the lower support. ADP did change their labor time on the opperation and said that thier repair time dosnt include adjactent panels. My state farm adjuster has been commiting insurance fraud for a long time. I cant imagine how much labor he has cheated all these shops out of.

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