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Farmers Insurance Circle of Dependendability (COD) or Direct Repair Program (DRP) is Bad News
Direct Repair Program (DRP) repair facilities are shops that have formed strategic alliances with insurers. The shop meets the insurance company’s criteria of their specific program and the shop agrees to do business in that manner. In Farmers Insurance's case, they call it the Circle of Dependability. It actually should be called Circle of Un-dependability or Circle of Underspendability . The insurance company’s purpose of DRP (Direct Repair Programs) is to streamline the claims settlement process and they work closely with a select repair facility to accomplish that. The shop agrees to provide many of the administrative duties of the insurance carrier in exchange for the referral. All insurance companies, just like repair facilities are not the same. It is the consumer’s responsibility to determine if this program is what you want, or if this is how you want your vehicle repaired. The repair facility must explain the repair process to you, the vehicle owner. It should be understood and agreed upon on what is being repaired vs. what is being replaced, and what type parts are being utilized in the repair process prior to the vehicle owner authorizing the shop to proceed with the vehicle repairs. It is the consumer’s responsibility and right to choose the repair facility of their choice and authorize the repairs based on a thorough and agreed upon damage evaluation. DRP’s (Direct Repair Programs) are an optional program of the insurance carrier. The consumer is not required or obligated to use a DRP repair facility. If you have any questions in regards to your rights about using a DRP make sure to see documentation of your State Insurance Commissioner (look under Consumer once you are at their web site).
Below you wills find some useful articles in regards to Farmers Insurance and the DRP program.
Oregon Body Shops rate Farmers Insurance worst! See article 9/1/2004 (posted March 2, 2006)
Farmers Insurance pressuring body shops to do bad or cheap repairs? "I've been a Farmers [DRP] shop for nine or ten years," one shop owner in the Pacific Northwest - who didn't even want his home state listed - said. "Of the 13 shops our [Farmers'] coordinator calls on, I was always in the top first or second spot every year. Right now, we've dropped down to No. 5 or No. 6 out of 13 because I will not fix the cars in such a manner that I will stay [at the top of the list]. I don't believe it is in the best interest of my business or my long-term relationship with my customer. So I'm struggling to try to remain within their guidelines."
The Changing Face of DRP "Farmers just told us yesterday that we were going to be 'graded' on the percentage of our alternative parts usage," an Oregon shop owner who has participated in Farmers' COD program for eight years said. "For a long time, Farmers ran one of the best programs, in my opinion, because it didn't seem to be all about the money. That's definitely changing. They haven't even commented on the CSI data we've been providing after they made it a requirement 18 months ago. I talked to one COD shop who's never started tracking that, and they haven't said a word to him about it. But they're really looking at costs." Article December 2001
Consumer Guide to Collision Repair (has nice set of commonly used terms)
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