It takes the right mindset to do it accurately
By Janice Salmon, JustPressOne
In the early 1990s, my mother Dorothy worked in the coding department at Key Prestige Inc. (KPI). They would receive thousands of NARDA warranty claim forms from thousands of service companies, and Dorothy’s job was to manually apply various codes to each claim that were specific to each manufacturer.
First, she would read the customer complaint and apply a four-digit complaint code. Then she would refer to the service performed description and apply a four-digit repair code. This coding was required before you could even enter the warranty claim information into a computer system for processing.
With the introduction of electronic claims filing in 1993, responsibility for coding switched from Dorothy to the manufacturers’ authorized servicers. Today, Mom is 95 and living in Laguna Niguel, Calif., spending her days solving puzzles. But servicers still often overlook the procedure of entering required warranty claim codes during the claims process. What happens then? Simple answer: no payment!
Warranty claim coding involves assigning codes to the diagnosis and repair of appliance products that will be reimbursed under the manufacturer’s warranty provisions. For most vendors, this includes some variation of the following:
• A code to identify the customer’s concern
• A labor operation to describe the repair
• A fault code to describe what failed or why
• Specific codes to determine warranty labor reimbursement
But there is much more to the process than just translating the work performed into a series of codes and into a language that the manufacturer’s software can understand. So, what makes this job difficult? It can be rather confusing. For example, do you use a complaint code, fault code, repair code, resolution code, job code, call code, failure code, F-ident or defect code? There can be many names for the code(s) you need to apply to your warranty claims to get paid.
Nearly 30 years ago there was a standard code list introduced by the North American Retail Dealers Association (NARDA) and the Electronic Industry Association (EIA), including defect codes such as CUST, DEAD, INOP and APPR, and repair codes such as PTME, PTEL, SOLD, IADJ and EADJ. Some of these are still used today by certain manufacturers for warranty claims. However, some manufacturers have either changed the name of the code field or added new codes. Here are just a few of many examples:
GE Rather than use the standard codes, GE decided to use the code field to determine the labor amount. They have two codes: MA00 pays standard labor rate and SS00 pays the sealed system labor rate.
AIG AIG uses numeric codes to determine if the repair was done as on-site repair or stock repair. The on-site repair code is 8001.
Asurion Changed the names from defect code to failure code and from repair code to resolution code.
Bosch For this family of brands you will need to have four codes per warranty claim — failure code, repair/job code, MFG F-ident and call code.
If your business management software does not allow you to enter one or more of these required codes, you will need to log into the manufacturer’s warranty claims portal of choice and enter the codes for all incomplete claims.
In summary, coding warranty claims is an exacting and frustrating task. It takes the right mindset to do it consistently and correctly. Learning the manufacturers’ codes and claims system is just a matter of education and some practice. Given the choice, a well-suited neophyte is better off than a sloppy person with experience.
Remember, codes are mandatory. You will not get your claim processed and paid without them.
Janice Salmon is the founder and CEO of JustPressOne, a business process outsourcing company and AVB partner that provides claims administration services for independent service companies and self-servicing dealers in the home appliance industry. For more information visit JustPressOne.com.