Jason Verlen, CCC’s vice president, product marketing. 

CCC Crash Course Report Shows Macrotrends Having Profound Impact on Collision Industry (article continued)

With the amount of digital technology in new vehicles, we’re now seeing a diagnostic scan included in the initial estimate. We wouldn’t have seen that years ago, but the computer systems in cars today need special tools to identify and diagnose damage.

There are more situations where parts are replaced that would have been repaired years ago due to the electronics inside. In some cases, there are more OEM parts with sophisticated electronics. That increases costs and repair time.

How are these changes impacting labor?

The labor shortage, both for carriers and shops, is a huge challenge at the wrong time because of the dynamics of the vehicles themselves combined with how people drive. 

Insurers and repair facilities are becoming more creative in figuring out how to handle the situation. We are seeing carriers being more flexible in hiring people who are not necessarily in the areas where they have their offices and working remotely. Repair shops, especially MSOs, are becoming more aggressive in setting up training programs to bring people on board.

Additionally, the rise of AI is making the claims process more efficient. The use of photo estimating, for example, has increased since the pandemic. About 27% of repairable vehicles go through the photo estimating process; indeed 150 carriers send CCC photos and approximately 100 apply AI to those photos. Over 14 million claims have used this technology since it was deployed.

One advantage of using AI is the superior process. If a carrier sends photos to a repair facility, it can apply AI to build an initial estimate and repair plan for the repair professional to review. AI also aids new employees coming into the industry who have less experience than their predecessors.

How are these changes impacting consumers?

They affect customers because they affect cycle time. We have complicated vehicles that are expensive to repair. They require more steps, diagnostics and calibrations and there is less labor to do it. 

This impacts customers getting their car into a repair shop. Many facilities now have a waiting list of over a month. There’s no magic to shrinking those backlogs but there are steps shops can take, like getting more labor on board, getting more comfortable repairing these vehicles and transparency with customers.

There’s a big difference between a consumer waiting for a car that's not functioning correctly and one that's getting messages about the status of how the repair is progressing.

If a repair isn’t done transparently and there are delays and supplements, that’s frustrating for a customer. If the repair process is transparent, even in a challenging environment, a consumer is more likely to give the repair shop the benefit of the doubt.

To read the report, visit cccis.com/crash-course.

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