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A warning intended to make sure you are treated fairly

Iris Barnes

hail damage car

 

A pretty straightforward letter has been sent to your insurance company; and it comes for Attorney General Jim Hood.  News Mississippi got a copy of the letter (see below).

In it Hood ask the provider to make sure they include every thing you need to restore your hail damaged cars to pre-accident condition in the estimate they give you.  Hood says in the letter that he has received reports that some insurance providers are not even writing estimates in accordance to their own guidelines.  Hood makes it clear, such disregard could lead to civil or criminal penalties.

 

The letter in its entirety is as follows:

Dear Mr. Counsel,

A recent hail storm in Mississippi caused significant damage to many Mississippians’ businesses, automobiles and homes. Our office has received reports that some insurance companies are issuing estimates that do not include certain automobile repair procedures specified by the insurance companies’ own manuals and/or software as necessary to return vehicles to their pre-accident condition.

Furthermore, our office has survey responses from more than 30 auto body repair shops. The survey results indicate that claims for certain repairs specified as necessary by the insurance companies’ own manuals and/or software, such as feather, block and prime, denib and finesse, masking of jambs, broken glass clean-up and more are not being included in estimates issued to the insureds. These auto body repair shops have not agreed to make these required repairs without payment by the insurers.

The refusal to include in an estimate the work required by the insurance companies’ own manuals and/or software to return vehicles to their pre-accident condition has created an environment for companies potentially to take unfair advantage of insureds and/or auto body repair shops. The inconvenience and financial damage to property caused by the hail storm should not be compounded by the shift of covered expenses onto the automobile owner or auto body repair shop. All insurance companies should be aware that such practices could subject the companies to civil or criminal penalties.

Therefore, I am asking you to take whatever steps are necessary to correct this inconsistency in your business practices. Please communicate to your staff the necessity to consult the procedure pages provided by your chosen manual and/or software and your responsibility to pay for repairs according to the labor allowances provided by your databases. Your cooperation in protecting Mississippi individuals and businesses is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions, please contact the Consumer Protection Division at (601) 359-4230.

Sincerely yours,

Jim Hood
Attorney General

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