My Application to be a Progressive DRP Shop
Filed under: Uncategorized
Dear Progressive Insurance
Please consider me an applicant for your new Concierge Program. Now, I know I?ve been kind of hard on Progressive in the past, but hey, you do have some real winners working at your company. But I?d like to call a truce and get on board with you. I?ve been reading about your new Concierge Program and must say it?s beginning to grow on me.
I understand Progressive Insurance is very particular about the shops it chooses for its DRP participation. In fact, here in New London County, Connecticut, you are down to just one or two body shops on your program. That?s why I am volunteering for your program. Before I commit to becoming one of your DRP shops, however, I have some questions about the program and what is expected of your shops.
Is it true that your shops have to agree to work at substandard labor rates? If so, I would imagine that our shop could engage in cost shifting, just like your other shops do. Your appraisers (from what I?ve been told, because I don?t see much Progressive work) help non-DRP shops meet a profitable bottom line by adding a little time here and there to make up for the unrealistically low labor rates. Will I be afforded the same benefits as a non-DRP shop?
I understand that as one of your network shops I won?t be able to write the estimate. I am told that your appraisers still come to the shop and write the estimates. What is the reasoning behind this? Do you not trust your network shops? If not, shouldn?t you choose shops that you could trust to write the estimates, like all the other insurers do? Or would trustworthy shops refuse to work at your rates? Do you have your appraisers write the DRP estimates so they can get some well needed training in estimate writing by working with the shop owners?
Will Progressive be providing collision repair training for my employees to teach them how to repair vehicles according to Progressives unrealistic repair times? Will they teach my painter how to blend within a panel, and melt the clear coat into factory urethane and water based clear coats? Will Progressive provide efficiency training to my employees so that we can actually make a profit at below market rates and with arbitrarily lowered paint times?
Would you suggest that we switch paint suppliers? We are now using Akzo Nobel finishes. Should we switch to that generic brand that Keystone sells?
I noticed that most of your estimates are missing blending time and time to remove trim before painting. Do you have some advanced paint tinting classes and special masking techniques for my painter? Or do we just not worry about paint match and overspray on trim?
Will we be required to use all aftermarket parts on your vehicles? Should I try to improve my relationship with Keystone? Or will we be repairing everything. Should I stock up on body filler? Can you recommend a supplier that will give us a good discount on, say, one hundred cases of bondo?
There is an almost unanimous agreement among collision repairers that Progressive appraisers are instructed to write low initial estimates, hoping the vehicle owner will take the money and run?not get their vehicle repaired. I understand that the savings are immense, and if the customer does get the vehicle repaired, appraisers take care of some of the deficiencies on a supplement. Will this practice continue in the DRP setting? Will many of the customers you send to my shop choose not to repair their vehicles? Should I just keep my mouth shut when your appraiser under-writes an estimate? Should I buy a bunch of big screen televisions and vacation packages to sell to your customers instead of repairing their vehicles? Would I make more profit selling the vehicle owner a plasma television than if I repaired his car? Do you have an agreement with any television wholesalers or travel agents?
I?ve noticed that many of your customers are?let?s see, how do I say this delicately?of the trailer dwelling variety. Yes, you have some higher class people who were caught in your advertising dragnet, but I?m sure you understand what I?m saying. My point is, we are a highline dealership shop, and we are not used to this clientele. Does Progressive offer some sort of training for my office staff to help us understand and deal more effectively with your type of customer? Do we need some redneck dé£¯r in our office to help them feel more comfortable? Should be begin selling lottery tickets? Would a ?Dennis Kucinich for President? bumper sticker on the window help?
I read somewhere that cycle time is very important to the Progressive insurance DRP program. In fact, from what I understand, to be in your network I have to agree to pay for any rental costs due to delays that extend the repair beyond your desired cycle-time. Does this include delays due to waiting for your appraiser to write a supplement? What if the supplement item was intentionally left off the estimate (you know, hoping the customer wouldn?t repair the car)?
Can I expect Progressive to use the same sleazy tactics to steer work away from other shops and into my shop, as you use now to steer work away from me?
Finally, if Progressive does accept me into its network, can we keep it confidential? I have a reputation to protect.
I look forward to a prompt response. Together we can lower the standard of collision repair in New London County to meet the expectations of your customer base, and to meet the value of what your company is willing to pay for collision repairs.
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