John Yoswick is a freelance automotive writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has been writing about the collision industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com).
He can be contacted at email@example.com
On the surface, it probably looked like a very minor agenda item to the members of the zoning board of Blue Island, Ill., a suburb just south of Chicago. After all, the board was just being asked to grant a "special site permit" for a new 16,000-square-foot collision repair shop - not the sort of thing that generally attracts much interest in the community, let alone turn-out for the zoning board's meeting.
He laughs when he's asked about Progressive's "Concierge" program. His shop has participated in this DRP program's trial run since last fall. "It makes me think of a twist on that old Oldsmobile ad slogan: 'This is not your father's DRP'," said the second-generation East Coast shop owner who spoke about the Progressive program on the condition that neither his real name nor his business location (not even the state) be revealed.
The major paint companies, struggling to overcome federal charges of price-fixing and their largely unsuccessful and expensive "shop investment" programs of the '90's are now focusing on "value added" shop management programs to attract and retain customers.
Could that 180-line estimate you just wrote be 179 lines too long?
During the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) held in Atlanta in April, one participant at the meeting posed this question to insurers: Could you accept an estimate that didn’t include the line-by-line breakdown but instead just the total repair cost?
The SCRS celebrated its 25th anniversary in April at an event in Atlanta that gathered many of the association’s early founders and leaders, and that included awards presentations, the election of a new chairman, a presentation by a lawyer on the McCarran-Ferguson Act, and a dinner celebrating the group’s history and accomplishments. At that dinner, SCRS Executive Director Dan Risley read a passage from a 1982 letter the newly formed association had sent out to recruit members.
As the Congressional-established Antitrust Modernization Commission (AMC) issued its report last month, many in the collision industry are wondering – and discussing – what it may mean for the insurance industry’s antitrust exemption.
“I think it would be foolish to assume that repealing the McCarran-Ferguson Act is a panacea for all the ills in the collision industry,” Ohio attorney Erica Eversman of Vehicle Information Services, Inc., said.
“Lean production” appears to be among the current key catch phrases being used by progressive collision repairers and the industry consultants they work with. The key to success in this industry, they say, is going lean: finding ways to do more with less.
Most collision repair shops wouldn’t think of letting customers leave with their vehicle without paying. At Keenan Auto Body, it’s starting to happen more often – which is just fine, according to Michael LeVasseur, vice president and chief operating officer of the 7-shop company in the Philadelphia area.
I-CAR leaders, during the training organization’s annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, in late July, openly explained that the past year had been a tough one financially, but also pointed to a number of accomplishments as well as plans for the future that they believe will turn things around for the non-profit.
Collision repair shops regularly decry the practice by some insurers of denigrating one shop in order to influence a consumer to select a shop in that insurer’s direct repair program (DRP). But could that DRP shop be found to be engaged in an unfair trade practice based on that insurer’s behavior?