These things, Peretta said, make it possible to overcome the adversities presented by insurer steering, short pays and rate suppression. He also stressed the importance of never giving up and never compromising the standards set by the business owner.
“Louisiana in particular has a large number of body shops that have experienced a tremendous suppression of rates and everything that will be paid to a body shop for the work they perform, including labor rates and parts and materials,” said Allison Fry, attorney and director of litigation for Eaves Law Firm. “Several shops in Louisiana have experienced truly crushing steering. I don’t know if it’s the environment in Louisiana or a certain arrogance on the part of insurers, but they’re much more blatant in their statements to shop owners about what they will or will not pay and why. For instance, one shop reported that an adjuster told them flat-out that they will not pay by the P-pages unless it’s in their financial interest to do so. And that was the corporate directive: ‘If it works for us, pay the P-pages. If it doesn’t, we’re not paying them.
“There is an exceptionally large body of highly motivated shop owners in Louisiana who have been pushed to the point where they have to take action. They’re very vocal, very involved and they very much want to see a change in the industry.”
So far, other states besides Louisiana in which repairers have filed include Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Indiana and Utah. Fry said she expects repairers in 35 other states to file within the next few months, although there has been a slight delay due to a judicial panel hearing on multi-district litigation slated for July 31 in Kansas City.