Auto insurance

PEMCO's Timesaver Repair Program: Guidelines for repair shops

Wednesday, March 13, 2019by  PEMCO Insurance

PEMCO's mission is helping its communities worry less and live more. The Timesaver Repair Program – in partnership with quality auto repair shops throughout the Northwest – is one important way we do that. These guidelines are for our Timesaver Repair Program partner shops.

If you're a PEMCO customer or if PEMCO is handling your claim,
 please call 1-800-GO-PEMCO for help with specific questions about getting your car repaired.

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WORKING WITH PEMCO
Satisfied customers are what PEMCO's all about – and we know you feel the same. These guidelines will enable your shop to work successfully with PEMCO in helping customers quickly get their cars and lives back to normal. Please refer to them when you receive a Timesaver Repair Program referral from PEMCO.

Electronic Claims Services (ECS). PEMCO partners with ECS and uses its website, ClaimsOffice.com, for the uploading, storage and review of estimates. Our program requires that you subscribe to the ECS service to participate.

Assignments. PEMCO will assign customers to you via email and fax.

Shop contact. PEMCO prefers to work with one qualified representative at your shop with a backup available when that representative is out. Please let us know if changes occur in your shop's ownership, management or our established contact person. Participation in the PEMCO Timesaver Repair Program is not transferable.

Backlog. Please let us know average repair times and if you're currently experiencing a backlog.

Certifications. Please use the comments section of your ClaimsOffice.com shop profile to keep your certifications updated.

Payment. The "timesaver" aspect of our program allows you to order parts and begin repairs once the preliminary estimate and photographs have been uploaded to ECS (Electronic Claims Services, our online vendor, at ClaimsOffice.com) and the customer has signed a work authorization. PEMCO strives to issue payment within seven working days of a final estimate or bill that's been accurately uploaded to ClaimsOffice.com. You don't need to upload parts invoices as long as they're available on file at your shop for inspection.

  • PEMCO pays the insurance rate in your area for labor, refinish, frame and paint materials. 
  • In the notes section of the estimate, please document that you are sending a "Final bill, verified to PEMCO Profile."
  • Please note, we are unable to issue payments without photographs. 

Photographs. Please provide clear photographs to document the damage on your estimate. If labor hours have significantly changed from the original estimate, please support the change by uploading pictures to ClaimsOffice.com and keeping them in your file. Occasionally, PEMCO casualty adjusters may need to request additional vehicle photographs.

 

WORKING WITH PEMCO CUSTOMERS
PEMCO empowers its Timesaver Repair Program partners to help customers in their time of need. These three touchpoints are especially critical at the start of a superior customer-service experience.

Same-day contact. For customers with a damaged car, waiting means worrying. That's why we ask shops to initiate contact with at least 95% of customers within two hours of receiving the referral. Please document ClaimsOffice.com with your first attempted contact date and time.

Towing. Please handle towing arrangements for all customers who have a non-drivable vehicle (please choose a vendor whose rates are competitive in your market area).

Rental vehicles. Knowing they'll be able to get around while their car is in the shop is a great relief to customers following an accident. If a customer needs a rental, please direct them to Enterprise, our primary rental vendor, at 1-800-GO-PEMCO, ext. 2238, or ext. 7889. You're also welcome to direct them to Hertz, our secondary vendor, at (306) 878-2199. If the customer has no preference and would like you to facilitate the rental process, feel free to use the vendor of your choice.

 

WORKFLOW
Efficiency and consistency are two keys to the positive outcomes our customers enjoy with the Timesaver Repair Program. We ask our partners to follow this workflow in delivering a superior customer experience.

  1. When PEMCO receives a claim, we'll electronically assign the customer to your shop through ClaimsOffice.com. An ECS Analyst will then forward the new claim assignment to you via email and fax.
  2. Using a competitive towing vendor in your area, arrange to have the vehicle towed to your shop if it's non-drivable.
  3. Contact the customer within two hours of receiving the assignment. Document the claim in ClaimsOffice.com.
  4. Make an appointment with the customer to evaluate the damage.
  5. Inspect the vehicle, write a committed or locked estimate and take initial photographs. Give the customer a copy of the initial estimate.
  6. Upload your estimate and photographs to PEMCO via ClaimsOffice.com
  7. Document the "scheduled date in" for repair and whether the vehicle is drivable or non-drivable on ClaimsOffice.com. Update changes to Scheduled/Target/Actual In & Out dates as they occur.
  8. Repair the vehicle.
  9. Upload the final estimate or bill to ClaimsOffice.com. On the estimate, please note "Final Bill, verified to PEMCO Profile." (We ask that during this step, you carefully verify the accuracy of your final bill. PEMCO issues one check for all completed repairs.)
  10. Upload your final bill within two business days of completing repairs.
  11. Document the "actual date in" and the "actual date out" on ClaimsOffice.com.
  12. Include supporting photos for initial and supplemental damages (required for payment).
  13. If the total loss threshold is reached, please see our Total Loss guidelines.
  14. Document ClaimsOffice.com and update the shop status field as appropriate.
  15. Let PEMCO know within 10 days if you're unable to reach the customer.
  16. Give the customer a copy of the final estimate or bill.

 

CASH OUTS AND EARLY DEDUCTIBLE RETURN
PEMCO's Timesaver Repair Program excels in aligning customer expectations with the repair and settlement process. Inaccurate expectations can result, however, when customers are quoted walk-in rather than insurance rates for repairs. Discrepancies become especially confusing for customers if they decide to cash out (rather than repair the vehicle) and receive a check for less than they expected.

Estimate discrepancies can happen in different ways. Sometimes they occur when Timesaver Repair Program guidelines aren't followed or when changes occur that aren't communicated to customers. Most often, though, they happen when a customer requests an estimate without first contacting PEMCO or even telling you that an insurance company will be involved. In that scenario, the estimate you give reflects walk-in rather than insurance rates. Then at some point, after notifying us (and we've set up a Timesaver Repair Program assignment), the customer decides to cash out. They're disappointed to learn that the amount they'll receive doesn't match their original (walk-in) estimate.

Fortunately, those instances are avoidable when our partner shops rewrite the estimate after receiving their Timesaver Repair Program assignment. The new estimate will reflect PEMCO auto repair guidelines (which may impact parts used, cost and labor rates). We ask that you immediately notify the customer when an estimate is being rewritten and summarize the changes. Be sure to send them the revised estimate as soon as it's ready. That way, there's no misunderstanding if they later decide to cash out and receive the amount for the PEMCO auto repair estimate rather than their original walk-in estimate.

That contact also is a great opportunity to invite them to come back to the shop for photos if none were taken during the initial estimate, since PEMCO requires photo documentation. 

Also, to boost customer satisfaction and loyalty (based on J.D. Power & Associates research), PEMCO follows an early deductible return policy. That means, in cases where another insurance company will be paying for 100% of the repair, we'll return customers' deductible to them and pay you in full (rather than waiting until we collect from the other insurance company). When that happens, either ECS or the PEMCO Claims file handler who extended the early deductible return will notify you.

 

ESTIMATES
Consistent estimates and well-communicated expectations for charges are a key part of the Timesaver Repair Program. Our partner shops agree to write an initial estimate and take photographs of damages, which PEMCO expects to receive within two business days of initial inspection.

We recognize that if an extensive teardown is required, you'll need more time to provide an accurate estimate, and we trust your judgment to take the time needed. Please notify ECS or update the claim in ClaimsOffice.com immediately so they're aware of the estimate delay. In your initial estimate, please include only what you know is damaged; hidden supplemental damage can be shown on your final estimate. If you expect to have a substantial difference between the initial and final estimate upload, please note that on the estimate.

On your estimate, please include:

Administrative data

  • Exact mileage
  • Complete VIN
  • Year, make, model, edition and exterior color
  • License plate number and state if other than Washington
  • Complete vehicle owner information, including address and phone numbers
  • Claim number and date of loss
  • Deductible as appropriate, including updates when the deductible changes
  • Estimate of the number of repair days needed.

Charges

  • PEMCO will pay the insurance rates for labor, refinish, frame and paint materials.
  • Initial estimates may include labor time to check the frame on your bench. We allow 2.5 hours to include setup, measure and the first pull. In your notes to ECS, please provide your best estimate of remaining pull times. You should include the remaining actual pull times on the final estimate. Each additional pull is no more than 1.5 hours. On pulls involving additional setup, blocking or multiple directions within the pull, 2.0 hours is allowed. Documentation and photographs are needed for all additional pulls. If a bench-frame setup and measure reveals no pulls are needed, charge 2.5 hours. Bench times are at the frame rate. Please contact your re-inspector for approval if the total frame time exceeds 7.5 hours.
  • Floor or body pulls are at the body rate – 1.5 hours setup, measure, and first pull; .5 hours for each additional pull to a maximum of 2.5 hours. Please contact your re-inspector to approve more than 2.5 hours total for body pulls.
  • Please include in your file, before and after frame specifications with manufacturer tolerances noted.
  • Mechanical operations should be billed at the body rate unless you have an approved certified mechanic. The mechanical rate must be agreed to with your re-inspector.
  • General shop supplies/materials aren't covered. PEMCO may pay for itemized materials as invoiced.
  • Clips, rivets, pins, glass, etc., damaged in the accident should be charged at retail price. If damaged in the removal and installation process, charge your cost only.
  • Please don't include markup on tows or advance charges. If a vehicle is determined to be a total loss, 25% markup on the towing bill to the shop is permitted. No markup will be considered on a towing bill to a lot or on advance charges from the yard.
  • PEMCO will pay 0.5 hours at the mechanical rate for pre- and postrepair scans.
  • Please upload invoices for all sublet work to ClaimsOffice.com. These guidelines apply:
    – 20% markup on sublet items completed by independent vendors at your shop.
    – Up to a total of $500.00 per estimate after 20% markup will be considered at outside independent vendor facilities.
    – No markup for services by a business with the same ownership as your shop.
    – No markup on scans completed at a dealership.
    – Exceptions will require your re-inspector's approval.
  • 25% markup on like kind and quality parts (LKQ).
  • $5.00 for hazardous waste.
  • For salvage part cleanup, PEMCO will pay up to 1.0 hours per LKQ sheet-metal part. If this isn't sufficient, please negotiate with your vendor first; otherwise document your file with photographs supporting your additional cleanup time.
  • PEMCO will pay up to 2.5 hours to cut and trim LKQ quarter panels, box sides and combination pillars/rockers.
  • PEMCO will pay up to 0.5 hours tint time for two- or three-stage refinish. In the case of two-tone, up to 0.5 hours for second color. Both as refinish labor.
  • PEMCO will pay 2.5 hours clear coat on exterior panels, with additional time for jambs. If more labor time is needed, please contact your re-inspector to discuss.
  • PEMCO will pay up to 0.5 hours body labor and $5.00 to cover vehicle for refinish. No additional masking for primer or jambs; 0.5 hours body labor only per opening for a removed panel to protect interior components from overspray (maximum of two openings).
  • For roping or precision masking glass, windshield or back glass, PEMCO will pay up to 0.5 hours body labor for a partial or 0.5 hours entire item, no supplies. Side glass, 0.5 hours.
  • For cleaning and re-taping moldings that have been removed and installed, PEMCO will pay up to 0.2 hours/$3.00. There can be exceptions for cladding.
  • Color, sand and buff will be paid on an exception basis for luxury vehicles or custom refinishing only, 0.3 hours per panel/2.0 hours maximum. Please contact your re-inspector for approval.
  • Buffing to repair minor scratches, scuffs, etc., is encouraged; 0.5 hours maximum per panel providing it saves repair/refinish to the involved panel. Buffing to match adjacent faded paint is not covered.
  • $15.00 for flex additive.
  • 0.1 hour per panel to remove old striping from a blended panel; 0.4 hours per side for body labor.
  • 0.3 hours and $5.00 for corrosion protection.
  • 0.3 hours and $5.00 for undercoating.
  • $10.00 for seam sealer. Approval is needed on exceptions. Labor is included on replacements parts, maximum of 0.5 hours labor on repaired panels to match adjoining seam seal.
  • $25.00 for urethane kits.
  • Where warranted, overlap deductions are expected for bumper-cover refinish operations, whether the cover is removed from the vehicle or not.
  • When vehicles are sublet to dealer vendors, sometimes duplicate operations by both the shop and dealer can occur. We ask that you work with your vendor to avoid duplications, since PEMCO can pay for operations (and markup) only once.

 

PART CHOICES
PEMCO appreciates your efforts to use quality, cost-saving parts that yield both excellent repairs and help control expenses.

Please use the following guidelines when searching for alternative parts. If you're unsuccessful in finding alternative parts, please note it in the comment section of the estimate (we need this information for subrogation). We reserve the right to further search for available alternate parts when a preliminary estimate is uploaded to ClaimsOffice.com.

  • Locate and use like kind and quality (LKQ) parts, certified aftermarket parts and remanufactured parts for vehicles one year older than the current model year or those with more than 15,000 miles.
  • Don't use LKQ SRS components of any kind, including seat belts.
  • Only consider using LKQ suspension and steering components with the owner's permission to save the vehicle on a borderline repair or if the prior condition of the vehicle warrants it. All aftermarket parts should be CAPA certified or better, if applicable.
  • Use of all alternative parts (non-OEM) must be clearly disclosed to the customer prior to repair.

Examples of parts that should be replaced with certified aftermarket or remanufactured parts:

  • Steel bumpers and bumper covers
  • Headlamps, only remanufactured or aftermarket manufactured by TYC (Keystone Platinum Plus)
  • Rear lamps or other lighting assemblies (not necessary to be CAPA regulated but must be DOT approved)
  • Fenders, hoods and tailgates
  • Wheels
  • Grilles
  • Batteries, starters, alternators and carburetors
  • Steering gearboxes and rack assemblies – remanufactured only
  • Mufflers, catalytic converters and exhaust systems
  • Convertible tops, upholstery and stereo equipment
  • Radiators and A/C condensers.

If a customer objects to the use of alternative (LKQ, aftermarket and remanufactured) parts, please notify your re-inspector immediately.

Special note for Oregon shops: When you present the final billing, Oregon requires that customers receive the warranties set forth in ORS 746.292(3) (a)-(b). For aftermarket or LKQ parts, the estimate must also include a specific disclosure as set forth in ORS 746.292(3) (b).

 

BETTERMENT AND DEPRECIATION
Please refer to these guidelines when repairs involve deductions for betterment and depreciation.

Deductions for betterment and depreciation are permitted only for parts normally subject to repair or replacement during the useful life of the car.

They're limited to the lesser of an amount equal to the proportion that the expired life of the part to be repaired or replaced bears to the normally useful life of that part, or the amount which the repair or replacement increases the resale value of the vehicle.

  • Any depreciation or betterment should be based on the condition of the existing part. Labor is not subject to depreciation or betterment. If there is no apparent wear or prior damage and the replacement part will not increase the resale value of the vehicle, then no betterment should be taken.
  • An appearance allowance is appropriate for cosmetic damage on paint or parts with the customer's agreement.
  • Any appearance allowance negotiated on a part should be no more than 50% to 75% of the cost of the part (no labor included). An appearance allowance for paint should be no more than 50% to 75% of the labor cost to refinish the particular panel (no paint material or blending included).
  • Please document any appearance allowance or betterment and include photos of the damage. Also, please contact your re-inspector before uploading your estimate with an appearance allowance.
  • If you have paintless repair on a sheet-metal panel, it's appropriate to use a paintless vendor. PEMCO encourages this method of repair when the panel isn't damaged. You can consider an appearance allowance for customers who choose this method of repair. Please call your re-inspector if you have questions.

When the amount claimed as automobile damage is reduced because of betterment or depreciation, please document all information used as the basis for the reduction. Also for each reduction, please itemize and specify the appropriate dollar amount.

 

OLD OR UNRELATED DAMAGE
Cars that come in with old or unrelated damage create special challenges in setting customer expectations for both the repair and claim process. We rely on you to let us know if damage doesn't correlate with the accident described or if it doesn't make sense. It's also critical to let customers know that – at this time – you can estimate damage only for this accident and that unrelated damages must be addressed separately. In instances where shops don't make that distinction, customers often assume that all the damage will be repaired as part of the current claim. That leads to dissatisfaction later with both their insurance company and the shop.

Any time you see a car with old or unrelated damage, please document it on your estimate, including photographs (rather than simply estimating and submitting it). If the customer doesn't acknowledge that the old or unrelated damage is from a previous incident, let them know that a PEMCO representative will need to review and approve it before it can be included in repairs. If the customer insists on having the old or unrelated damage repaired at this time, let your re-inspector know immediately. They'll address the customer's concerns so you don't get caught in the middle.

 

REPAIRS
Consistent practices and documentation ensure that PEMCO customers can expect a world-class experience whenever they get their cars repaired at a Timesaver Repair Program shop.

We ask that our vendor partners:

Comply with all applicable automotive repair legislation when dealing with customers. In Washington, that's RCW 46.71, and in Oregon, it's ORS 646A.480-495.

Offer a written warranty on all repairs.

Perform all work according to your initial committed estimate. If you find you need to make repairs that deviate from your initial estimate, please note changes in your file and include updated photos. Notify the customer and PEMCO or ECS promptly. Accuracy in initial-inspection estimates and final bills at pickup are critical to customer satisfaction.

 

RE-INSPECTIONS AND EVALUATIONS
PEMCO's in this for the long term with its Timesaver Repair Program partners. That's why we place a high value on maintaining a constant flow of both in-person and digital communication with you. Feedback from all perspectives – customers', yours and PEMCO's – helps all of us continually improve.

Shop visits. PEMCO representatives may ask to inspect all Timesaver Repair Program vehicles on your premises during business hours. We also may ask to see customer files and estimates in their entirety.

Feedback from PEMCO. We'll share information with your shop representative that we compile during evaluations and re-inspection visits. We'll also discuss overall trends and patterns regarding customer contacts and satisfaction, cost variances, repair methods, parts used, charges as per our guidelines, cycle time, severity, quality of repairs and communication with PEMCO (such as total loss notification, noting alternate parts searches, notification of old or unrelated damage, proper entries of estimate administrative data, proper and timely ECS entries and updates, responsiveness to ECS or PEMCO requests and action plans for areas of improvement). We'll always try to resolve any concerns or differences with you.

Feedback from shops. We want to know how we're doing, too! Please share any concerns or questions you may have about the Timesaver Repair Program with your re-inspector. Your observations and opinions are important to us.

 

TOTAL LOSSES
"Total loss" is a hard word for customers to hear, and it can be a complicated call for shops and PEMCO. These guidelines will help when navigating how to handle a possible (or obvious) total loss.

Borderline total losses
Please call your PEMCO re-inspector when your estimate reaches 100% of threshold, which we'd prefer be set at 80% of your estimating system's vehicle evaluation. If you feel the vehicle has hidden damage that requires a more substantial teardown to determine whether it's repairable, your ECS Analyst can authorize up to two hours. If you'll need more than two hours, talk with your re-inspector for approval and to discuss factors involved in determining if the vehicle is repairable.

PEMCO considers a vehicle to be a constructive total loss when the total cost to repair, plus salvage, rental expense and towing for repairs exceeds the value of the vehicle.

In addition to photos of the damage and prior damage, please provide at least four corner pictures outside as well as pictures of the engine compartment (if possible) and interior photos. On all possible total losses, it's important that you change the shop status on the claim file in ClaimsOffice.com to "total loss" or "possible total loss" when uploading. That sends the necessary electronic notification to PEMCO and ECS.

Obvious total losses
You don't need to write a complete estimate on an obvious total loss. Instead, please complete the administration portion of the estimate, decode the VIN and include the odometer and license plate number. Please note in the body of the estimate that the vehicle is an obvious total loss and include the same photos noted above. Upload the partial estimate and photographs to ClaimsOffice.com. It's important to change the shop status on the claim file in ClaimsOffice.com to "total loss" to properly notify PEMCO and ECS.

 

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