On May 22-23, AASP/NJ hosted two educational sessions featuring National AutoBody Research’s (NABR) Richard and Sam Valenzuela.
The Valenzuela’s explained how the NABR Variable Rate System (VRS) can help collision repair industry professionals fight the ongoing labor rate battle. The May 22 session was held at the Holiday Inn in Totowa, while the May 23 event took place at the Clarion Hotel in Toms River.
Sam stated, “Have you ever been told ‘we don’t pay for that’ or ‘no one is asking for that’? Well, that is not true. They will pay and we have the data as proof. We can change our mindset. If you think your industry is just the way it is and it’s never going to change, you probably won’t survive.”
“Market rates are rates that you should determine,” Richard added. “Insurance companies don’t determine these rates unless you let them. What is interesting is that [the insurance companies] will never show you any data. They just tell you what the rates are in your market and you are supposed to believe them. It’s time to stop operating under this belief and start fighting back with accurate data which puts ‘bullets in the chamber.’”
NABR’s VRS is a database comprised of posted rates and insurance documents from collision repair shops that can be used in shops’ fight to get paid what they deserve by citing the evidence provided in the system. Subscribers can search insurance documents to verify that certain procedures are being paid by specific insurers as a response to the infamous claim of “we don’t pay for that.”
The Valenzuela’s accessed the database during the seminars to demonstrate the proof and the rates shops post for bodywork—results that were significantly higher than NJ’s supposed prevailing labor rate.
“This is hard data,” Richard said. “We aren’t making this up. We are taking it right off the insurance documents. Data is the only way you are going to win this war.”
NABR encouraged shops to complete the VRS survey found at laborratesurvey.com to share their posted rates based on the cost to properly repair vehicles.
AASP/NJ said measures such as taking this survey are vital to unifying the industry. According to AASP/NJ President Jerry McNee, “If we all start bringing it up and stick together, we can make a change.”
“With the Variable Rate System, shops now have a strong basis for their argument: the current labor rates being paid by most insurers does not reflect the fair and reasonable labor rates that shops deserve for the services they provide,” AASP/NJ Executive Director, Charles Bryant, said.
For more information on AASP/NJ and its endeavors, visit aaspnj.org.