May '16

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84 • RV PRO • MAY 2016 rv-pro.com Challancin says many customers incorrectly believe they have to get multiple estimates – they do not – and are used to the auto- insurance industry model where insurers have preferred repair shops that have agreed to do work for less than their stated rates, in exchange for the volume of business that comes when the insurer names the shop as a preferred site for repairs. (Anti-steering laws prevent an insurer from forcing a customer to use a preferred shop; it's ultimately the customer's choice.) "What has happened over the 30 years or 35 years that this has gone on is the insurance company has been able to control the wage," Challancin says. "'You're a preferred shop; we are only going to pay XYZ.' The motorhome industry, having seen that, doesn't want anything to do with the preferred shop, because I get $129 an hour to paint a motorhome; I get $129 an hour to do the bodywork to a motorhome." That doesn't stop the insurers from trying to pay less, however. "I actually had an insurance company come in and tell me: 'Our preferred rate for this type of repair is $105 an hour.' And I, at that point, graciously pointed out that my preferred rate is posted on the wall at $129 an hour. "They've taken a sampling of the area's rates and called it the 'preferred rate.' But what I don't understand is that my shop charges $129, other shops in town are charging $129 or $135, and there Service Manager Andrew Bowen (left) and employee Sean Kopsho talk about a repair in progress. The collision center can work with fiberglass, aluminum and plastics on any make or model of motorhome. Challancin works in his small office at Tradewinds RV. The paperwork in front of him represents just some of the paperwork associated with lawsuits he has filed against insurance companies to get them to reimburse the business for the cost of RV repairs.

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