Monday, 12 February 2018 11:31

CCC’s Changes to ‘Secure Share’ Discussed at Industry Meetings

Written by
ASA Executive Director Dan Risley ASA Executive Director Dan Risley


Changes that CCC Information Services recently announced related to its “Secure Share” data-exchange program were a frequent focus of discussion at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) and other meetings held recently in Palm Springs, CA.

CCC in December announced that it was dropping plans for a 50-cent-per-estimate fee for third-party providers (such as rental car companies, shop management system providers, CSI services, etc.) wishing to receive estimate data from CCC ONE users. It also eliminated registration fees for those third-parties, and said it would continue to allow such data transfers to be done via the commonly used “EMS” data export file rather than requiring the use of the newer “BMS” data export file, reducing development costs or forced timelines for third-party providers to gear up to receive BMS files.


CIC Chairman Guy Bargnes said the CIC task force that developed early last year to address concerns related to Secure Share successfully fulfilled CIC’s mission to bring industry stakeholders together to “discuss issues, enhance understanding, find common ground and communicate possible solutions.”


“This is a really great example of the difference that CIC can make when everybody is working together for a common goal,” agreed ASA Executive Director Dan Risley, one of three co-chairs of the CIC task force.


CCC’s Mark Fincher said the changes were a result of ongoing discussions throughout last year with the task force, industry associations and customers. He said it became clear that the announced fees were going to be a barrier to entry for companies adopting Secure Share, and that those costs were going to be passed on to CCC customers.


“Both of those things were not intended outcomes that we expected or wanted from Secure Share,” Fincher said. “So we made the decision to eliminate those fees.”


He said it also became clear as 2017 was drawing to a close that with the announced April implementation of Secure Share, “it was inevitable that there was going to be a potential disruption to our customers,” something CCC “absolutely did not want to be the outcome of Secure Share.”


What about the money?


Fincher was asked about CCC’s willingness to step away from the revenue the Secure Share fees would have generated, which some have estimated as hundreds of millions of dollars.


“This has never been about the revenue for us,” Fincher said. “I think some of the estimates around the revenue opportunity were a bit overinflated. This was never a revenue play for us. This was truly about securing the data. The fee structure was put in place for us to be able to recoup, with some level of profit as we stated, the costs that we put into Secure Share. It was a significant investment to put the infrastructure in place to process thousands of transactions a minute, and process those in sub-second response times. We decided it was best to just take on those costs ourselves, not pass that along to our customers or the [third-party] app providers. We think it’s the best thing for the industry.”


Risley told Fincher that some may view this as CCC backing off for now on fees after facing a year of public criticism, but that in a year or so it may re-implement some of the changes it is halting for now.


“We don’t have that kind of fortitude,” Fincher said, drawing laughter from CIC attendees. “We’re not going through this again. We made it very public that there will not be a charge for Secure Share, now or in the future.”


He said the reversal is not entirely altruistic on CCC’s part. The platform benefits from expanding the number of industry trading partners it connects, he said, and eliminating the fees and other changes will likely increase participation in Secure Share.


He also said CCC has “absolutely no plans” to discontinue users’ ability to transfer estimate data in the EMS format.


“We think obviously at some point in the very distant future that our customers will decide there’s not a need for EMS,” he said. “But we’re not going to make that decision to sunset EMS.”


More observations


Speaking at a Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) board meeting in Palm Springs, Aaron Schulenburg, the association’s executive director, said most repairers in the industry “didn’t and still don’t understand the implications” that CCC’s plans for Secure Share could have had on their businesses nor “how significant CCC’s decision to reverse their approach is on the future of [shops’] businesses as well.”


CCC’s announced changes, he said, “are exactly why every collision repairer should be part of a national association.” He said whether that’s SCRS or another group, the changes by CCC are a case study for why every shop should be part of some “organization that can be your voice, when you’re busy getting your customer’s car out at 5 p.m. on a Friday, an organization that has your back and understands the concerns and understands who to communicate with and how to communicate in a way that can be effective.”


Risley also said that although the CIC task force was originally formed to address issues raised by CCC’s announced plans for Secure Share, the topic of “data security” doesn’t go away now that CCC made changes to its plans.


“It’s not about somebody hacking into a shop’s data and grabbing it,” Risley said. “That’s a concern, but the bigger concern is something that happened a few months ago: The John Eagle Collision lawsuit. That shook the dust off the rafters for a lot of folks.”


He said that lawsuit over how decisions were made and how repairs were documented is now at the forefront of discussion within the industry, and will be the topic of a presentation at CIC in Atlanta in April.


“There’s a tremendous amount of exposure for this industry, and you need to be aware of it,” Risley said. “We as an industry need to figure out a way to address it.”


Example of consequences


Also at CIC last month, Jake Rodenroth of asTech (which offers a remote vehicle scanning system) shared an example of potential consequences when a shop “deviates from the [OEM] repair procedures, ignores the [OEM] position statements and [doesn’t] do the scans.”


Rodenroth said he recently rented a 2017 Nissan Maxima with 3,000 miles on it, and though there wasn’t a clearly recognizable dash warning light for someone not familiar with Nissan’s systems, he said he realized the blind spot detection system was not warning him about traffic on the freeway.


He did some research and found that if the blind spot system on the vehicle is working, the indicators’ lights on both doors are supposed to come on with a key cycle. On the rental vehicle, he said, only one of those lights came on.


He then found “questionable” color match, peeling paint and “reassembly issues” on the rear of the vehicle that clearly indicated the vehicle had gone through previous damage and repairs. He scanned the vehicle and found multiple fault codes indicating the blind spot and cross-traffic alerts were not active.


“If I had changed lanes, expecting the blind spot system to warn me, what would have happened?” Rodenroth said. “This stuff is happening today, and as an industry, we have to act upon it.”


John Yoswick, a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has been writing about the automotive industry since 1988, is also the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (www.CrashNetwork.com). He can be contacted by email at john@CrashNetwork.com.