According to a recent report by Boston, MA-based WBUR, the Massachusetts Division of Insurance intends to investigate allegations against CCC Information Services that the Chicago-based company shorted Massachusetts drivers out of thousands of dollars in total and/or stolen vehicle claims.
CCC is one of three main industry Information Providers used by insurers and auto body repair facilities to estimate what totaled cars were worth before being wrecked or stolen. Insurers use the appraisals to help determine how much money to pay policyholders to cover the costs of replacement cars. A complaint filed against CCC by Norwell, MA-based lender Source One Financial Corp. claims that CCC appraisals routinely lowball the amounts paid to insurance customers. “On a regular basis, we see [CCC] making claims regarding the sales price of motor vehicles that aren't substantiated,” Source One's chief financial officer, Michael Parsons, told WBUR. “In fact, Source One has sent out private detectives to make sure that the prices they give are fair. And what we're finding is, on a regular basis, those prices are not the right price, either because they are discounting the price available [or] taking unreasonable condition adjustments against the consumer’s car.” Encouraged by these developments, AASP/MA Executive Director Evangelos “Lucky” Papageorg is confident that the complaint against CCC will draw greater attention to the discrepancies that exist between the shop and insurer versions of estimating platforms. “It is about time that a spotlight of this nature is shone on the Division of Insurance and on what is an obviously flawed system that only serves to condone the systematic defrauding of the consumers by insurance companies. The fox is truly watching the henhouse. All one has to do is call the DOI and see what it means to be stonewalled on any issue. This situation reinforces my belief that the service providers are there to sell to insurance companies. I feel they create packages that are advantageous to insurers. They are their biggest customers, but at the same time, the motoring public is at a disadvantage.” “It’s all sided for the insurance company; it’s as simple as that,” adds AASP/MA Collision Director Rob DelGallo. “I’ve seen them actually put six hours to prep the car for auction deducted from the valuation in total loss jobs. We could never get six hours to clean a car.” AASP/MA Treasurer Matt Ciaschini feels the information featured in the WBUR report will be of tremendous value to Massachusetts motorists. “I’m going to use the WBUR article as part of the total loss package we give our customers. When a customer’s vehicle is totaled, we help them with finding the true value of their vehicle while making sure they know to do their due diligence to get paid out properly. Ninety-five percent of the time when we’re dealing with customer totals, they’re getting badly lowballed. This is not just a CCC issue; this is an industry issue.” AASP/MA strongly urges its members to read the complete WBUR article available in the Members Only section of the AASP/MA website: aaspma.org. Members who have not renewed their AASP/MA memberships are urged to do so to continue having access to valuable industry information such as this that assists you in helping and retaining your customers.