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John Yoswick

John YoswickJohn 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 john@crashnetwork.com 

Tuesday, 10 August 2021 19:53

Why Collision Repair Shops, Insurers Often Disagree on Repair Plans

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The Collision Industry Conference (CIC) Industry Relations Committee held a panel discussion this summer centered around a fundamental question: Why is there so often a disconnect between auto body shops and insurance companies during the repair planning stage, particularly when it comes to procedures related to advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS)?

Michael Giarrizzo, CEO of DCR Systems, which operates eight collision repair shops under partnerships with dealers in four Eastern states, sees training as the key issue leading to the frequent lack of alignment on repair plans between shops and insurers.

 

Giarrizzo said OEM-certified shops like his continue to get significant amounts of training as vehicle complexity continues to increase, but insurance claims personnel often aren’t getting that ongoing technical training. He equated it to a medical insurer questioning a surgeon.

 

“Someone handling a medical claim may not have that same level of education [as the doctor], but they have trust in that education,”  Giarrizzo said. “Whether you’re up to speed with it all or not, there’s got to be a trust level in whoever has gone out and invested in the education.”

 

Ron Reichen of Precision Body & Paint in Oregon agreed keeping up with vehicle technology is “a challenge for us, and we’re constantly training.” He said collision repairers “trying to get alignment [with insurers], often find ourselves being the educators for the bill-payer.” The shift to virtual claims settlement doesn’t help, he said, because it adds to the challenge of showing or explaining what a vehicle requires.

 

He said he also sees a “one size fits all” approach that isn’t helpful. The time needed to scan a vehicle and analyze the information and incorporate that into a repair plan might take 45 minutes on one make of vehicle and two hours on another, even on similar hits, Reichen said.

 

Another panelist, consultant and former insurance executive Roger Wright of Vector Squared, concurred claims personnel often lag in their technical knowledge as vehicle technology evolves.

 

“In the 1970s, I started out [in the insurance industry] and I went to Vale Tech and became a ‘three-week wonder,’ and realized shortly thereafter I knew nothing,” Wright said. “The collision repair shops trained me for the next 20 years. I went in as an insurance representative or independent appraiser and would listen to what they had to say and learn. I guess we’ve lost that, maybe.”

 

That said, Wright said he can understand insurance company resistance to...


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