National Account Manager, OEM After Sales Jennifer Jarzembowski from PPG advises shops all over the country on the advantages of attaining OEM certifications and helps shops obtain them.
Q: Are OEM certifications important to insurance companies?
A: OEM certification continues to grow, and existing programs are becoming more and more refined. The availability and required use of repair procedures and position statements make certified shops the authority on collision repair. The insurance company authority is becoming less of a factor and there is more emphasis on the repair method, OEM compliance and liability exposure rather than alternative parts usage and severity. I believe that consistency in estimates and safe and proper repairs is becoming important to the insurance companies, and challenging certified shops is therefore decreasing. They are showing interest in accessing network management systems that provide certified shop information and KPIs. Knowing who the certified facilities are and knowing the quality of their repairs makes it more likely that they will send work to them.
Q: Why are OEM certifications important to consumers?
A: OEMs, consumer advocacy organizations and media are educating consumers on the importance of identifying shops that meet OEM requirements, can assure a proper and safe repair of their vehicle and will restore them to pre-collision, factory condition. OEMs are giving vehicle owners the level of confidence that they have identified quality shops at the point of vehicle purchase. Certified shop locator sites, on-demand marketing, smart phone apps and the increased use of vehicle telematics give the OEM the advantage of the first notice of loss. OEM certification training, equipment and tooling can be costly. If a shop is dedicated enough to meet the requirements of a certification, a consumer can be reassured that the facility is doing safe and proper repairs.
Q: How can OEM certifications strengthen shops’ relationships with their DRPs?
A: OEM certification can make a facility less dependent on the insurer. It can help leverage the insurer to allow the facility to repair the vehicle to the manufacturer standards (and in a timely manner), allowing them to use OEM parts and get paid a fair rate. While a certified facility may still need to explain the necessary costs to insurers, automakers are doing a good job of educating and keeping the insurers informed regarding their certification requirements.