Industry professionals shared their expertise with members during the quarterly meeting of the Auto Body Association of Connecticut (ABAC).
Topics discussed ranged from insurer interference to storage charges and OEM repair procedures. ABAC News provided association members with a recount of information panelists shared with attendees.
The meeting began with Bob Amendola, ABAC president, welcoming attendees and thanking sponsors. He covered highlights from ABAC’s previous “Winds of Change” meeting. In addition, he addressed ways in which the panel would work. Amendola shared, “We hope to be concise when addressing your concerns. Every time we engage with each other, we all learn more.”
Following dinner, Tony Ferraiolo, former ABAC president, encouraged attendees to see the importance of the Customer Repair Contract.
“If you don’t use a Repair Contract, you have nothing, said Ferraiolo. “If these people do not want to pay you or if you go up against an insurance company in court, you have a zero chance of a decision in your favor.”
Dave Fogarty, panel moderator from Lorenson Auto Group introduced the rest of the panel: Amendola (Autoworks of Westville), Ferraiolo (A&R Body Specialty), Tony Cavallaro Sr. (Airport Road Auto Body), Ed Lupinek (Eddie’s Auto Body), Tony Lombardozzi (Superare Marketing, CCRE president) and ABAC’s legal counsel, John M. Parese (Law Offices of Buckley, Wynne & Parese).
People often question why collision repair facilities permit insurers to interfere in their business. Lombardozzi said, “There is a better way—it’s a mindset change. [The insurers] don’t belong in our business—they sell insurance; they pay claims. We’re not in the insurance business—we repair collision-damaged vehicles.”
Parese explained the difference between an authorization to repair versus a repair contract. An authorization to repair has more limits, since it gives the shop the authorization to fix the vehicle. He added, “A repair contract is fundamental to everything you do and protects you in three important ways. It can be utilized for fighting insurance companies when there’s a short pay, but it can also protect you from your own customer who doesn’t pay. It also protects you against any complaints that may be filed against you at the DMV.”