California Department of Insurance (DOI) Deputy Commissioner Tony Cignarale will speak during a special session at the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) open board meeting Jan.16 before the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) in Palm Springs, California.
Cignarale, deputy commissioner of the Consumer Services and Market Conduct Branch, will discuss how the DOI serves auto insurance consumers.
“The presentation should leave attendees with a better understanding of DOI areas of responsibility and opportunities to remedy difficult experiences for CA consumers navigating the auto claims process,” an SCRS press release said.
Attendees will learn about DOI tools and resources available to help consumers and businesses when they encounter challenges in the insurance claims process, the release said. They also will learn the distinctions and relationships between various California agencies.
“Topics may include policy language review and approval, the relationship between the CA DOI and the CA Bureau of Automotive Repair [BAR], ongoing education and connection to market practices, and even specific issues such as storage fee disputes in CA that have garnered the focus of national news stories this past year,” the release said.
Cignarale oversees the DOI’s consumer call center and assists in market conduct functions. He’s also co-chair of the DOI’s Fair Claims Settlement Practices Task Force, which monitors claims settlement practices and effects regulation changes when necessary.
The session will continue talks given by Virginia Commissioner of Insurance Scott White and North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance Mike Causey during an open board meeting in April.
White and Causey advised how the repair industry can help change unfair business practices used by insurers. They also discussed common complaints each state receives from policyholders and how the departments handle them.
“The insurance industry is highly regulated and if you don’t believe us, just ask the insurance companies,” White said. “It’s done at the state level. …Personal line, private auto, and homeowners — this is where a lot of our time is spent because this is where a lot of the issues arise,” White said during the talk. “There’s a bigger imbalance between a consumer battling a big insurance company, like a State Farm or an Allstate.”
White also gave repairers steps to help consumers, such as effective communication, writing complete and accurate estimates, informing customers that supplements are common, and checking with the Bureau’s website for common problems and solutions.
Members attending the Jan. 16 board meeting will also learn about the association’s current state and will receive updates on association initiatives and programs, such as SCRS benefits.
“There is a tremendous amount of activity taking place in the industry today and our Open Board Meetings are important conduits to our members,” Amber Alley, SCRS chair, and manager of California-based Barsotti’s Body and Fender, stated in the release. “Kicking off the year in person, highlighting work the association has prioritized, information we’ve collected, and garnering more perspective about the challenges that are present in the industry is key to our contributions in delivering education, information, and advocacy for collision repairers.”
The SCRS Education Committee will deliver its annual presentation of “Kool Tools from the SEMA Show and Beyond.”
There is no cost and pre-registration is not required. Attendees also are not required to be an SCRS member. Seating will be first come, first serve and is anticipated to fill up quickly.
The meeting will be held from 2-5 p.m. in the Tapestry Room at the Hilton Palm Springs.
CIC’s meeting will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 17 in the Horizon Ballroom at the same venue. Pre-register here.
For more information about SCRS, or to join as a member, please visit www.scrs.com, call 1-877-841-0660, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo of Tony Cignarale courtesy of LinkedIn