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Montanez in Hammer & Dolly: Rekeying might not be in shop’s best interest

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Associations | Business Practices | Education | Insurance | Repair Operations

Hammer & Dolly, a joint production of Thomas Greco Publishing and the Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association, has graciously allowed us to reprint excerpts of some of its past few months’ articles speaking to some of the hottest issues in collision repair.

Among the must-reads for shops is the February and March 2017 two-part Larry Montanez column series on rekeying (and photo estimating, in Part 2). From February 2017’s Part 1:

This process (rekeying) is not only tedious and time-consuming, but it requires skill to be able to check the math and make each line match. Each line must be inputted one by one, then labor hours in each category must be matched exactly. Additionally, replacement costs, materials and sublet charges must be matched. The copied (or rekeyed) estimate is “locked” and a supplement can now be created, utilizing the matched insurer’s estimate. Now, there may be some of you wondering why this needs to be done. To be honest, there are really only a few scenarios where this process would be advantageous, and it is my opinion that only one is acceptable.

As Montanez indicates, there are three typical scenarios: “The Drive-In Estimate,” “Live In-Person First Write” and “Live In-Person,” and only the first might benefit the shop. Read more in the February 2017 issue, starting on Page 24.

Part 2 in March 2017, makes an argument for how to successfully avoid rekeying.

In Scenario 1 or 3, you wrote an accurate damage report for the cost of repairs. For reasons we will not discuss, the appraiser did not reimburse the vehicle owner the full amount. So here are the steps to follow to not rekey:

1. Do not delete or write anything on your report.

2. Call for a supplement and do not delete or write anything on your report.

3. Call the vehicle owner to inform them of the supplement. (In some states, you are required to obtain permission from the vehicle owner to charge more than the original estimate and for each additional increase in price or additional supplement.) Do not delete or write anything on your report

4. Continue with the repairs. There is no reason to stop; do not delete or write anything on your report.

5. When the appraiser arrives, hand them the original damage report you handed them the last time they were there.

Find out more, including how the subsequent conversation with an adjuster might go, starting on Page 40 of the March 2017 issue. Read it here.

More information:

“Thoughts on rekeying estimates: Part 1 of 2”

Hammer & Dolly, February 2017

“Thoughts on rekeying estimates: Part 2 of 2”

Hammer & Dolly, March 2017

Featured image: Should you rekey an estimate for an insurer? Larry Montanez of P&L Consultants argued in a 2017 Hammer & Dolly column series that often, the answer will be no. (Somnath_DC/iStock)