Many collision members of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) have been having trouble getting properly compensated for practices commonly referred to as “gap” operations. In an attempt to obtain some answers to the developing problem, AASP/NJ contacted several major insurance companies throughout the state. Not surprisingly, the association hit a brick wall.
The majority of the insurance companies that AASP/NJ spoke with offered, on the whole, no information whatsoever regarding their stance on “gap” procedures. State Farm, Allstate, High Point/Palisades, Liberty Mutual, Geico, AIG, and Mercury were contacted. Out of these seven insurers, AASP/NJ only spoke live on the first try with one company: Allstate. The representative became extremely defensive when asked Allstate’s stance on featheredge, prime, and block procedures, first asking “how you got my number,” then immediately clamming up and refusing to comment.
AASP/NJ did receive several return calls, from one AIG claims representative – who has also ignored all attempts for follow-up, further affirming AASP/NJ’s belief that he’d also like to see this issue disappear – and also from several companies’ Public Relations representatives. These employees – from Geico and High Point/Palisades – requested further information on the topic. After reviewing enclosed information – which included a definition of gap procedures as well as stated positions of the three main database providers on the issue – AASP/NJ received a brief message from High Point/Palisades saying they were not interested in participating in this survey. To this date, Geico has still not responded. AASP/NJ has yet to speak with State Farm regarding its position on gap procedures, due to missed communications by both the representative and AASP/NJ.
“Not one insurance company gave a straight answer,” adds AASP/NJ’s New Jersey Automotive magazine editor, Alicia D’Aquila, who attempted to conduct the interviews with insurance representatives. “Whether they had confessed to completely ignoring gap operations altogether, or had maintained that they were compensating shops for these practices, you could at least respect them for being up front. When somebody rushes off the phone, hands off the task of following up to another party, or chooses to not even acknowledge a call, it feels like they have something to hide.”
“The gap problem is becoming a major concern among our members,” AASP/NJ President Tom elder says. “The lack of response from the insurance companies is very disappointing. It seems that every time we break down a wall, another one goes right up. The silence on the issue just means we have to get out our hammers again and start working on the new wall.”