Liability is a hot topic in the collision repair industry. While following OEM procedures and acquiring shop insurance is a must, all policies are not created equal.
Many insurance carriers do not understand the industry well enough to provide guidance on liability concerns that shops may face.
David B. Willett, general manager of the automotive industry at Intrepid Direct Insurance, shared observations about the value of having an insurer who understands the business.
“It’s astonishing how many shops are working in the dark ages with agents who don’t write many policies for businesses, like their own, when they could deal with someone who attends industry events and knows collision repair,” Willett says. “Fifteen years ago, there were insurers who dealt preponderantly in the auto body industry, but many of those programs have disappeared over the years, leaving a disconnect.”
Tony Adams, owner of Weaver’s Auto Center and an Intrepid Direct customer, said it’s beneficial to have an insurance company that specializes in the industry. “When you need a doctor, do you want a generalist or an expert? Personally, I want an expert and that’s what Intrepid Direct is for.”
Adams sought coverage from Intrepid Direct because “they were the only active participant that I’ve seen in a while attending industry events and auto body association meetings. I think this keeps them sharper over their competition to the trends and needs for my business.”
For many shops, it’s important to have the peace of mind that is obtained by knowing your shop is protected.
“When I met David Willett, he made me realize how underinsured I was, but unlike other carriers who asked silly questions that made it seem like they had no idea what I did for a living, David knew immediately,” Rob Mays of Hance Paint & Body Service, said. “I sleep well at night knowing Intrepid is in my corner if I have a claim.”
Intrepid Direct Insurance is selective of the shops that it will offer a policy. They are seeking collision repair facilities doing “quality repairs to OEM standards.”
“Intrepid Direct is committed to improving the industry and promoting excellence for our customers,” Willett said. “We know the increasing complexity and liability the members of this industry face to meet OE vehicle repair standards, attract and train new talent, stay up with technology, and grow margins.”
Before insuring a shop, Intrepid Direct utilizes a screening process that includes being an I-CAR Gold shop, having the ability to pull OEM procedures on demand and verifying that there are other strong quality control processes in place.
“We’re willing to work with shops that are close to those standards, because they’re cognizant of what they can and can’t do—but, we’re the only one doing any of this,” Willett said. “Very few insurers even ask about OEM repairs, and when they do, it’s just an underwriting question.”
With increasing complexity and ever-changing requirements leading to increased liability potential, shops could benefit from an insurer who understands their exposures and is experienced at handling claims.
“Faulty repairs can become the potential for large lawsuits. Shops end up getting advice from an insurer who isn’t used to dealing with these claims—telling them to accept liability or to fight it,” Willett warns. “The insurer doesn’t know the industry, so they hire an independent adjuster.”
Willett said a fully-integrated insurance solution is necessary for collision repair facilities. “There’s definitely a need to protect your shop against the trend by most insurance carriers to pull back on limits, coverages, claims and services.”
“When dealing with business insurance that ensures a collision center, you want someone who understands the claims process,” Mays said. “Intrepid Direct understands the complexities of coverage relative to work liability, building requirements, loss of use and so much more.”
For more information, visit IntrepidDirect.com.