On January 21, 2014, The Michigan Attorney General Criminal Division executed a search and arrest warrant on the owner of Advanced Expert Collision, 19545 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI. The owner was charged with a 4 count felony warrant for Larceny by Conversion, Uttering and Publishing, Insurance Fraud and Habitual Offender. This body shop owner could face substantial time in prison.
What made this arrest possible? Ed “Van”, our post re-inspection expert. Ed was able to determine that the repairs allegedly made were in fact not made according to the estimate. This gave the prosecutor tangible evidence of certain fraud. It also showed that this was not one or two items missed, but the work (or lack thereof) was intentional.
So why insurance companies should do post re-inspections after repairs of their insured’s vehicle.
- To keep repair facilities honest.
Post re-inspections need not occur in every instance but as a matter of random checks to insure that the product produced by repair facilities is as close to the written estimate as possible. In most states, a motor vehicle service and repair act exists for the consumer so repair facilities will comply with the repair requirements. In Michigan, if a repair facility is found deceptive, the insurer or consumer is entitled to double the damages and reasonable attorney fees. This would include the cost of the post re-inspection.
2. Provide evidence in Civil and Criminal Litigations
Without a fact based inspection and documentation of the vehicle after repairs have been alleged to be completed, there is no chance of subrogation or criminal litigation. We obviously suggest a non-biased third party to conduct these inspections so as to add credibility to the findings.
3. Most importantly, the vehicle owner’s safety!
There have been documented accounts of vehicles where accidents have occurred from repair facilities not making the appropriate repairs. The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud reports on their website that a repair facility repaired a damaged steering assembly with only a coat hanger. As the owner was driving the hanger broke causing the owner to crash into a house.
PROVIDENCE-Specialized Investigative Solutions has had great success in helping both the insurers and the insured. In one instance, paving the way for a substantial re-imbursement to our client.
We deliver to our clients an expert comprehensive post re-inspection of the repaired vehicle. The investigator will provide you with documentation that will serve as a basis for further action if necessary. Below is a short list of some of the items we look for.
1. Parts repaired vs. replacement
2. Parts replaced LKQ vs. OEM
3. Parts replaced EC vs. OEM
4. Parts written for CAPA certified replaced non CAPA
5. Improper repairing or splicing of structural parts
6. Parts not being replaced or repaired as per estimate
7. Uni-body structural parts being repaired when manufacture recommends replacement
8. Spot refinish vs. full panel refinish
9. Parts not removed and reinstalled as per estimate
10. Quality of repairs compared to industry standard
If we can help or answer any additional questions, please contact us at 517-646-8594 or go to our website www.providence-sis.com
Co-authors Ed Vanderdonckt and Al Norris