On Oct. 5, 2018, Rickenbaugh Automotive of Denver, CO, distributed a position statement to its DRP insurance companies that sent ripples through the entire collision repair industry.
The 74-year-old auto body shop and dealership featuring Cadillac, Volvo, Infinity and Fisker essentially told its DRP “partners”: “Here’s how we are going to do business, regardless of your policies, mandates or subterfuge.”
To paraphrase, the statement said that the shop’s garage-keeper’s insurance carrier had inquired the body shop about how it conducted business regarding repair methods. In the wake of the John Eagle Collision case, the insurance company was concerned about the shop’s liability and thus the possibility of a huge payout should the shop be sued for performing bad repairs and/or failing to follow OE-recommended or required repair procedures.
The statement said in part, “They (the garage-keeper's insurance carrier) explained that the insurance providers are currently not educating their field staff about these procedures and that it is our responsibility to make sure that we do not deviate from any required or recommended repair procedure. They stated that should there be an incident and we were found to have not followed and documented the OEM repair procedures, they could deny coverage. Due to the extreme liability that we have when repairing vehicles, Rickenbaugh Automotive Group will not allow any of its businesses to deviate from ANY (emphasis seen on written statement) recommended or required OEM procedures.”
The statement goes on to say that any manager who does not follow OEM repair procedures and does not perform the proper documentation will face immediate termination. Rickenbaugh management, most specifically company Vice President Nick Pacifico, made it crystal clear---cars would be repaired properly, or not at all.
A few months have gone by since this statement was issued---time to have the situation “shake out.”
Autobody News contacted Rickenbaugh body shop manager Chris Hudson, a 28-year industry veteran, to see what effect, if any, the statement has had.