Tuesday, 13 October 2020 23:04

OEC Acquisition of NuGen IT Will Further Assist Collision Repairers to Meet Requirements of Insurers, OEMs & Customers

Written by Autobody News contributor
Pete Tagliapietra, founder and president of NuGen IT. Pete Tagliapietra, founder and president of NuGen IT.


Autobody News recently talked with Pete Tagliapietra, founder and president of NuGen IT, about the company’s acquisition by OEConnection (OEC) in July and what it means for the collision repair industry.

OEC, established in 2000, is a leading parts fulfillment software solution provider for OEM distribution networks.


As a result of the OEC acquisition of NuGen IT, Tagliapietra said the companies are working together to deliver a combined technology platform that will not only facilitate a substantive step forward in refining the collision repair industry, but will also drive higher levels of efficiency over what is available in the market today.


“As much as DRPs impacted the way collision repairers process damaged vehicles since the early 1990s, it is inevitable that technology and OEM-certified repair networks will impact this long-standing model,” said Tagliapietra. “The industry is moving toward a model in which OEMs will have significantly more influence on where and how to repair vehicles.”


The discussion led to further questions.


How did your experience working in three different market segments lead you to establish NuGen IT?


I began working in the collision repair industry at a young age doing all the tasks technicians didn’t want to do at a collision repair facility. After completing my higher education, I spent 10 years in automotive retail, specifically in collision repair management, and then had a decade of auto claims experience working for two different insurance companies. Following that, I worked for a collision repair database and estimating system information provider for 15 years.


Looking back, I realize how fortunate I am to have worked in these three market segments of our industry. My experience has given me a good perspective on how to create balance and minimize friction among those segments.

In the late 1980s, I met Dayle Phillips, who became my business partner at NuGen IT. Dayle, who was employed at a leading-edge software development company, often collaborated with me to discuss possible technology solutions to an auto claims or collision repair problem. We found our skills complemented one another.


I’ve never met anybody like Dayle who understands a business issue and can come up with a solution that applies technology and enhances the process significantly, eliminating the amount of human task associated with it.


After 35 years of experience in the industry, I felt it would be an ideal time to start my own business in 2004. As a result, I established NuGen IT and Dayle joined the company in January of 2006. It has been an incredible run since then.


What was the primary focus of NuGen IT and how has the company grown?


From the onset, the goal was to leverage the CIECA (Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association) Standards the collision industry embraced. The strategy was, and has been, to offer open solution platforms to the insurance and collision repair communities.


Limiting the proprietary software environment with the exchange of information between insurers and collision repairers was having a positive impact on the industry. We set out to create an open environment that would alleviate estimating system mandates for insurance companies, allowing collision repairers to select and license the estimating system that provides the best outcome for both parties.


Over the years, NuGen IT continuously reinvested into research and development. We typically look at where gaps exist in the process for collision repairers and insurers. Then, we identify accuracy, efficiency and productivity issues, as well as technology to further refine the process in various end-user workflows.

We rely heavily on our business-rules-driven compliance technology to accomplish this through the products we develop. I believe this, along with other technologies---such as our ability to accurately transform a PDF of an estimate back into the CIECA Legacy EMS (Estimate Management System) or BMS (Business Message Suite) data formats---helped set our company apart from competitors.


Our product offering also heavily focuses on Business Process Compliance. Business Process Compliance utilizes computer software to analyze an estimate or just about any other formatted document. Hence, an insurance appraiser or body shop service manager knows when the estimate is not in compliance with the database, external or internal policies, and procedures or regulatory requirements.


The technology is compatible with any estimating system and almost any formatted template. As a result, collision repairers use one compliance tool rather than purchasing multiple tools to meet their needs and requirements of their insurance company partners.


NuGen IT’s product offerings incorporate robotics automation whenever possible. Software robots can perform the analysis function on behalf of the user, so the correct outcome is delivered the same way every time, creating accuracy, uniformity and consistency.


The nice thing about robotics automation and software intelligence, commonly referred to today as machine learning, is computers can “perform an outcome” the same way every time based on the input of many different variables.


Initially, we developed our products primarily for insurance companies and giving them open network capabilities to deliver an assignment directly to a network or non-network repair facility. As long as a collision facility had an internet connection and a computer, they could receive an assignment and then import the administrative data into their system(s).

As our company evolved, we believed collision repairers were at a disadvantage. Auto claim process applications for insurance companies were plentiful, and we saw an opportunity to provide software applications to collision repairers that could significantly alleviate the administrative burden they are faced with.


Today, our application services are offered equally to both of these market segments.


How have NuGen IT’s product offerings evolved for collision repairers?


On the collision repair side, we understood the great need for products to help repairers meet their internal needs, insurance and regulatory requirements. As a result, we started offering "hybrid solutions" to collision repair organizations.


For example, we developed a strategic partnership with ALLDATA about eight years ago and developed Estimate Integration. The goal was to proactively deliver OEM repair procedures to collision repairers regardless of the estimating system or manufacturer. Shops could analyze and audit estimates to ensure they were incorporating the required repair procedures before submitting them to insurance companies.


We also pioneered the concept of DRP (Direct Repair Program) Self-Management. Around 2010, we presented the concept of Self-Management to a leading insurance company, which resulted in a pilot project with two major MSOs. The concept led to a new way of capturing and analyzing shop performance and measurement.


Our compliance technology allows our collision repair customers to optimize an estimate before submitting it to the insurance company. Estimate optimization ensures it is accurate as possible and meets the insurance company’s policies as well as identifies overlooked labor operations that could end up in a supplement request.

It can be a daunting task for a service advisor at a collision repair facility to keep track of various DRP policy procedures for multiple DRP programs, and our goal is to help them streamline the task by fully automating the process, thus eliminating the time trying to be compliant.


Can you share information about the recent acquisition by OEC?


After our two companies learned more about each other, we realized the possibilities of how combining our technologies could bring a lot more value to the market segments we serve, particularly with collision repairers. That really excited us. We felt this was an excellent opportunity to take repair blueprinting to a new dimension.
Today’s collision repairers must refer to multiple information providers to get all the information needed to process an insurance claim. For example, once collision repairers receive the assignment from an insurance company through an information provider, they have to write the estimate, conduct the part search, work with a rental car company, report vehicle status and comply with Customer Service Index (CSI). This all falls into the issue of scorecarding, which the industry highly utilizes.


By combining our companies and allowing each to do what it does best, it’s ultimately going to address the issues facing collision repairers, now and in the future.


How is the industry changing and what should shops be aware of?


As one of the people in the industry who has worked in all three segments---collision repair, insurance and information provider---I believe my experience has taught me there can’t be just one dominant force driving the industry.

In the past, this has been insurance companies. The insurance industry has been a driver to how the collision repair industry operates, particularly its involvement in processing an auto claim.


I see a paradigm shift occurring where we need to recognize how the three market segments need to work together. It will be not easy to accomplish and will take time, but it has to happen. We’re already seeing manufacturers develop strategic relationships with major insurers.


Insurance companies will need to collaborate with OEMs and collision repairers to ensure there is more than a satisfied customer, going beyond what it is today. What we’ve done for the last 20 years is not good enough anymore.


It’s my opinion that manufacturers are becoming increasingly concerned about protecting their brand, knowing when a car gets damaged, there is just as much technology and software to deal with along with the body and any mechanical repair.


Collision repairers are now required to be collision repair experts, mechanical repair experts and system technology experts. Otherwise, they need to outsource some services to complete the repair.


OEC and NuGen IT will further assist collision repairers to meet the requirements of their insurance partners, ensure to OEMs the vehicle is being repaired correctly, meet internal business objectives and better serve mutual customers.


Looking ahead, our goal is to also help OEMs better manage their certified repair networks and provide collision repairers, insurance companies and manufacturers the data. This will be critical in the future.


In the last 10 years, I have continued to emphasize to our employees that it’s all about the data. I believe software will continue to diminish in value/price and the value of the data will continue to increase. I am convinced data is the “newfound gold” in the collision repair industry and am dumbfounded by collision repairers freely giving it away and allow others to profit from it. 


I am extremely proud of what the NuGen IT team has accomplished and couldn’t be more excited about this next step in our evolution. OEC has a tremendous and successful track record of delivering solutions for automobile dealers, collision repairers and OEMs, and I look forward to what this will mean for our collective customer base and parent company.