As proof that I try to be fair and balanced, a big BRAVO! to all the insurance companies who recognize that those doing automobile repairs deserve a safe working environment. The vast majority of all the insurance companies are paying the extra costs to sanitize automobiles from the coronavirus before repair.
But, not Safeco or GEICO. They deserve a big BOO! and market conduct studies from all Departments of Insurance in all the states. If claims managers at those two companies will go so low as to put money over safety, think what they must do on other claims practices.
Here is a part of the article highlighting these two companies’ unfair claims practice acts:
‘As far as the disinfecting for Covid 19 we are not paying that as there is no way to properly disinfect the entire vehicle from the time it is dropped off for repairs, during the repair process, and after the repair process,’ an adjuster for No. 6 Liberty Mutual’s Safeco subsidiary wrote to Nylund’s Collision Center about a 2018 Mercedes CLA. ‘Any steps the shop chooses to take to attempt to protect their employees is a cost incurred by them, just like every other business operating during this time. This is a situation that is a Pandemic and there is no way to properly disinfect a vehicle in this case without completely taking it apart.’
No. 2 GEICO also recently rejected a disinfection charge on a 2015 Lexus LX 570. The carrier wrote on a supplement dated April 2, ‘DISINFECTING VEHICLE IS RECOMMENDED AT ALL TIMES AND FALLS UNDER THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS.’
‘Paint materials rate changed to zero and paid from invoice,’ the GEICO adjuster wrote in an email to the shop that day. ‘Use of OE front bumper is denied unless a/m is appropriately disqualified. Disinfect for covid-19 is not a covered operation. Thank you!’
As noted above, other major carriers have accepted disinfecting for COVID-19 as a legitimate charge.1
Everybody deserves a safe work environment and making certain that the virus is nowhere to be found on the damaged property is important to everybody doing repairs on automobiles, structures and property. GEICO says it can save you 15% on a policy but nowhere does it warn you about how cheap the policy is and to what lengths they will go to in the claims process to make their product cheap. How truly cheap is a policy that does not pay what is fairly owed?
Safeco does the same fraudulent and twisting of their product in the website advertising. Compare above on what it pays, to what it says on its website:
Changes to Auto & Property Claims Process to Protect Customers and Employees
• We’ve stopped all in-home damage inspections effective immediately except in emergency situations, such as water damage with an active leak or threat of mold, to avoid having employees entering homes. Whenever possible, we will do in-home inspections through RealTime Review video chat or other video collaboration tools. We will ask customers for their approval before using these tools.
• Our adjusters will continue to do outside property inspections outside the home with customer permission. Our property adjusters will be following CDC Guidelines, including social distancing and following sanitation guidelines.
• Auto appraisers will not be visiting customers’ homes or auto body shops except in emergency situations and will follow CDC guidelines. You can submit photographs of vehicle damage online and through our app, including using our new assisted-photo tool which will show you step-by-step how to take damage photos.
• All other claims employees are working from home to handle claims as quickly as possible. For faster claims processing, we strongly encourage you to file new claims online, to manage claims online, and to use our digital tools including RealTime Review video chat and guided photo capture.
• We are suspending our Claims Valet Service until further notice except for emergency situations.
• We’re instructing any vendors who provide services to Safeco to follow the same guidelines.
I guess the hard-working people at body shops do not count to Safeco claims adjusters, managers, and officers.
If you want to buy good insurance, you start by finding a good insurance agent. Don’t buy online from GEICO or these other companies that advertise one thing on the internet and deliver something completely else at the time the claim is made. You need to know you can trust your insurance company and that starts first with finding a trusted insurance agent.
Thought For The Day
From its onset, the labor movement has been at the forefront of the fight to improve working conditions and workplace safety. At the local level, knowing their union has their back gives workers the confidence and support they need to stand up and report harassment, poor working conditions, or workplace safety violations.
1 Huetter, John. Colo. repairer finds resistance from GEICO, Safeco on sanitizing vehicles for COVID-19. Repair Driven News, Apr. 21, 2020. https://www.repairerdrivennews.com/2020/04/21/colo-repairer-finds-resistance-from-insurers-on-sanitizing-vehicles-for-covid-19/