Let’s do it!
I’ve been following Lee’s articles forever. I was in the insurance industry for some thirty years – from adjuster to upper management. I am now manager of a collision repair facility and I totally agree with his concept and would like to help in any way. The insurance companies would not believe the repair industry is capable of uniting for a common cause.
Mike Gero (via e-mail)
There is the way “it should be” and then there is “the way it is.” Deal with the way it is and forget the way it should be. “It should be” will never benefit you; you will become bitter and cynical and could become distracted from the problems at hand.
I had an experience last week with what I call a “rogue supervisor”—an insurance company supervisor who is ignoring company policy and allowing his emotions to supersede his better judgment. It’s like a military commander having his own private war with no regard to protocol.
You Want How Much?
Do insurers really want to be educated in the proper repair techniques of collision repair, or do they just want it cheaper?
Last week I attended a meeting in San Francisco at the California Department of Insurance. This was a meeting I had looked forward to for quite some time. As the CRA’s president I was privileged to accompany some top shop owners as we made our case before the department heads. It’s too soon to know how successful the DOI will be with the evidence that they will be investigating but we did accomplish what we set out to do, and that is to establish the fact that there is a real problem and we need help.
I recently met with a gentleman who owns a body shop in Northern California. I was showing him around my shop and as we talked about how we processed cars and managed systems, the subject of labor rates came up. He was quite surprised at the labor rate difference between his shop and mine. While he was impressed with our shop, he wasn’t impressed by the fact that we were only getting paid half of what he was.
I write articles about our industry. I give shops my opinion on what I think they can do to turn this industry around because we need “change.” I have become an industry advocate and placed a well-deserved bull’s eye on my back. I will say what most other industry people only think.
Labor rate surveys were established as a starting point for negotiations. They are intended to create a floor to build upon, not a ceiling to keep prices artificially controlled. Today they are not serving any purpose other than keeping the cost down for the insurers. Insurers have even been bold enough to force the consumers to pay the rate difference when negotiations break down. It’s ironic because the code states that the burden of proof lies with the insurer, not the consumer.
People often contact me asking what they can do to help fix our industry. More often, though, people contact me just to complain and tell me what needs to happen. They are more than willing to root for me, but don’t want to get their hands dirty. I can’t fix your problems alone. You need to step in and step up.
When I was a kid I used to love to get ice cream at 31 Flavors—the best, most expensive ice cream around. Normally our family would go to Thrifty Drug Store to get double dips for ten cents each. 31 Flavors was a real treat with more choices Plus, their ice cream was so expensive, we rarely went there.