We all probably agree that it is best that a body shop estimator always write his/her own estimate on every vehicle they repair. The primary reason for that is because insurance company estimates are highly inaccurate and they use terms on their estimates, and repair methods, that the auto body industry is prohibited from using.
Section 2695.8 (F) of the California Fair Claim Settlement Practices regulation clearly Indicates the steps an insurer must use when preparing a repair estimate using a third party data base.
This regulation states: "An insurer shall not prepare an estimate that deviates from the standards, costs and/or guidelines provided by the third party automobile collision repair estimating software used by the insurer to prepare the estimate, if such deviation would result in an estimate that would not allow for repairs to be made in accordance with accepted trade standards for good and workmanlike automotive repairs by an auto body repair shop, as described in this subdivision."
Simply put, the insurer must use the data base they are using as it is designed to be used, including the "P" pages.
Another reason for the auto body shop to prepare their own estimate is so they will have an estimate prepared on an "unmolested" data base to compare to any insurer produced estimate. Insurers have been known to go into the administrative section of the data base and set certain parameters that will affect the bottom line on an estimate. An example of that is "all bumpers are painted on the vehicle".
Items that have been left off an estimate or under paid on the estimate would not allow the auto body shop to repair the vehicle in a "good and workman like manner". While there are some minor differences in the data bases, they are usually small. When there are large differences, it is usually caused by data base manipulation and you may want to consider insisting the insurer use your data base as they are required to do.
If the insurer refuses to comply with the regulations, you may want to consider filing a complaint with the DOI.
Attention: This document is general in nature and deals with various laws and regulations. It should not be considered legal advice. It is recommended that you seek the advice of an attorney specializing in this area of the law if you encounter a problem.