Thursday, 29 January 2009 03:56

CIC’s Proposed List of Direct Repair Criteria Would Erode True ‘Fair Trade’ says CCRE

Shops’ DRP relationships with insurers foster, support, and promote insurer steering of repairable vehicles.  Though the vast majority of collision repairers understand this, it seems that this simple concept remains lost to the minds and/or aspirations of the leaders of the Collision Industry Conference’s (CIC) so-called Fair Trade Practices committee.  This disconnect becomes evident in the wording of CIC’s recently proposed 14-point Direct Repair Criteria list (see Autobody News, December, 2008, or www.autobodynews.com). 
It would therefore appear that the true goal of CIC’s latest proposed repair criteria is to continue to promote the personal interests of certain among CIC’s participants and administration.  The practice of writing and rewriting proposals in hopes that the insurance industry will comply has never accomplished anything positive for the collision industry, and it never will.
    Many DRP shops are among those complaining about insurer steering practices against them.  And yet, in spite of the fear and intimidation that keeps many of them tied to their DRPs, any knowledgeable DRP shop owner knows that it is his compliance as a DRP that guarantees that insurer steering remains profitable for insurers.
    Though Insurers have attempted to “legitimize” what was once considered an “illegal” practice (by writing policies that demand policy holders to patronize insurer shops with DRP agreements), CCRE maintains that these now “legitimized”, formerly illegal practices are still un-American, defying the concepts of “free trade” and stifling competition in our typically capitalistic society.  How is it that we now have the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which allows for free trade to flow from Canada, through the United States, and into Mexico, and yet we have NO “Free Trade” within our own “free” country in reference to insurer interference in the Collision Repair Business, and several others?
    The time is now for our collision industry to stop feeding insurers’ steering machine through participating in DRPs.  The time is also now for CIC-type groups to cease from facilitating insurer abuses through recognizing Direct Repair and the many things it promotes as being in any way legitimate. CIC’s even considering such a proposal as this so-called Direct Repair Criteria, (coming from an organization that proclaims to be promoting ‘fair trade practices’ for the collision repair industry), is even more detrimental to the collision repair industry than the DRP concept itself.   
    The Code of Ethics produced by attorney Erica Eversman is a workable “Best Practices” that the collision industry can adopt.  
    Contact: Tony Lombardozzi, CCRE president, The Coalition for Collision Repair Excellence (CCRE), Phone: 877-700-7743, Fax: 877-700-7747, E-mail: office@theccre.com, Website: www.theccre.com