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, 21 November 2017 16:57

Retro News: Five Years Ago, Information Providers said Shops Can’t Opt-out of Data Collection

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In 2012, Greg Horn was with Mitchell International, and defended the company’s release of data that showed regional variations in billing for bumper refinishing. In 2012, Greg Horn was with Mitchell International, and defended the company’s release of data that showed regional variations in billing for bumper refinishing.


20 Years Ago in the Collision Repair Industry (December 1997)


Representatives of State Farm, USAA, Geico, Allstate, Farmers and Nationwide stated that their respective companies do not have plans to introduce preferred provider organization (PPO) type programs as an option for customers buying insurance policies for their vehicles. The Automotive Service Association Collision Division sought the statements to help identify any changes to the insurers’ positions concerning PPOs.

A PPO-type program would likely allow a consumer the opportunity to buy a policy that offers substantial premium discounts. In exchange, at the time of purchasing the policy, the consumer would agree to certain conditions, such as the use of aftermarket parts and [allowing the insurer to decide] where to have their vehicle repaired in the event of an accident.

 “It’s not in State Farm’s planning,” State Farm’s Bill Hardt said. “The PPO might work in certain niche markets, but we’re too big.”

Hardt’s personal opinion is that the customer would agree to use aftermarket parts up front, but after the wreck, would change his mind.USAA’s Israel Yzaguirre said the company has no plans to incorporate PPO-type policies. 


“We think there’s no savings for us in terms of money or people with PPOs,” he said. “I would hate to see PPOs happen. They would just drive another wedge between the industry.”

“I am unaware of Geico offering such an option at this time or over the next 12 months,” Geico representative Bill Mayer said.


– As reported in Collision Expert. No major auto insurers have moved toward a PPO model in the 20 years since this was reported.


15 Years Ago in the Collision Repair Industry (December 2002)


Arizona Collision Craftsman Association (ACCA) members have selected their annual picks for the best insurance companies to deal with, and State Farm has come out on top for the second year in a row.


ACCA member shops were asked, “Do insurance companies’ overall policies, attitudes and payment processes focus on quality and timely repair for the customer?”


The shops rated each insurer on a scale of 1 to 10.State Farm topped the list at 9.04, followed by Farmers (7.64), USAA (7.17) and The Hartford (7.13). Outside the top 10 were Geico (6.43), Travelers (6.4), Liberty Mutual (6.04), Allstate (5.4) and Progressive (5.14).


– As reported in Autobody News. CRASH Network (www.crashnetwork.com) conducted a similar “Insurer Report Card” in late 2016, and out of 86 insurers graded by body shops, the insurers named above all ranked below 40 other insurers. USAA (#41), Travelers (#43) and State Farm (#47) were the only three with above-average scores. The others were ranked between #65 and #76, with grades of C+ or C.

10 Years Ago in the Collision Repair Industry (December 2007)


NACE Chairman Darrell Amberson, president of Lehman’s Garage, a six-location business based in Bloomington, MN, kicked off the 2007 event’s opening session with a speech offering his laundry list of the key issues he believes the industry needs to address.

Amberson said the decrease in auto insurance claims and the increasing percentage of totals have helped fuel an “overcapacity” in the industry, with too many shops chasing too little work. That and a lack of unity in the industry have helped add to the imbalance in shop-insurer relationships, something Amberson said that some insurers have taken undue advantage of. The industry, he cited as one example, must have a more fair way of determining fair and equitable rates, and that government involvement in such issues---as is being discussed in some states---may not be something either side finds as the best solution, Amberson said.


– As reported in Autobody News. Amberson in 2012 became vice president of operations at LaMettry's Collision, another MSO based in Minnesota. There is still some discussion of government involvement in labor rates; legislation under consideration in Massachusetts, for example, would require that a minimum labor rate be established by the Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner based on the average rates paid by insurers in surrounding states (Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont). 


5 Years Ago in the Collision Repair Industry (December 2012)


Aaron Schulenburg of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) said the repairer associations that asked the information providers for an “opt-out option” for shops that don’t want their estimate data aggregated are disappointed with the negative responses they received.


“Is there going to be a choice? Really, the answer is no,” Schulenburg said at the recent Collision Industry Conference. “You can either choose to use electronic estimating systems (to communicate with insurers) or you don’t. I don’t think it’s the answer that we wanted, but they answered the question.”

He cited, as one example of the concerns repairers have about the use of data, a report published by Mitchell International on differences seen in bumper refinish costs. Schulenburg said some insurers used the report to urge field staff not to overpay on bumper refinish on certain vehicles. But Schulenburg said the differences in the costs were more attributable to differences on estimates than on what was actually happening in shops. The data may seem to indicate that older vehicles need less time, he said, but it’s actually more an issue of appraisers not being as likely to allow procedures such as tinting and final sand and polish on estimates for older cars as they are on newer cars. The estimate data that Mitchell was touting as a trend, Schulenburg said, didn’t reflect that those procedures are still being done on the older vehicles.

But Greg Horn of Mitchell International said the report was actually pointing out that additional bumper refinish operations, such as tint and blend, vary by geographic region.

 “So why are the body shop associations not reading that same report and saying, ‘Why are our brethren down in the Southeast or up in the Northeast getting this when it’s a valid operation, but we’re not in this area,’” Horn suggested.

Audatex’s Rick Tuuri said his company and the other information providers cannot control how other companies use the data.


“Your issue is not with the information. Your issue is with how the information is being used,” Tuuri suggested to the associations. “People use power tools for the wrong reason every day, and you don’t go to Black & Decker and complain that someone tried to pound a nail with your power drill and put a hole in their hand. It’s not Black & Decker’s fault.”


– As reported in CRASH Network (www.CrashNetwork.com), December 3, 2012. Schulenburg remains executive director of SCRS; Tuuri retired from Audatex in 2016; Horn in 2016 became national auto physical damage claims director at The Hartford.

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