Florida collision repairers, suppliers and vendors came together in Lakeland, Fla. on November 20 to discuss State Farm’s controversial PartsTrader program and identify solutions to combat “short-pay” trends in the industry.
Ray Gunder, of Gunder’s Auto Center in Lakeland, John Mosley, of Clinton Body Shop, Inc. of Clinton, Miss., along with several other Florida and Mississippi shop owners, joined attorneys John Eaves and Brent Geohagan to share their national efforts to stop State Farm’s attempts to impose a mandatory parts procurement program on an unwilling collision repair industry.
Mosley shared information regarding the recent CIC meeting at SEMA as well as discussions with State Farm’s George Avery. “The simple and clear message was, if you choose not to participate in PartsTrader, State Farm will immediately find you irrelevant,” said Mosley. “The message was clear that State Farm doesn’t care if the collision repair industry likes PartsTrader or not–they will continue to implement the program.”
“We’re in Florida with the purpose of filing an injunction to stop PartsTrader,” Eaves declared to the meeting attendees. “Our ultimate goal is to defeat this mandated parts procurement program and stop State Farm’s intrusion into the collision repair industry in Florida and across the country. We feel PartsTrader is a virus–it infiltrates and destroys long-term relationships between repairers and their suppliers–but we have the cure.”
Eaves added, “This issue isn’t just about you as individual repairers. This issue is about your responsibility to consumers around the nation who are relying upon you, the repair professionals, to look out for and to safeguard their best interests regarding their personal safety and economic wellbeing.”
Additionally, Eaves and Mosley spoke about repairers coming together and filing litigation for “Short Pays” on performed repairs. Mosley stated that their research has shown, on average, that insurance companies have shorted shops $625 to $700 on a $3,500 repair for necessary procedures. These processes included color-sand and polish, fill-block and prime, test drive, clean car for delivery, and others. The attorneys have developed a list of more than 60 necessary procedures that are commonly omitted by insurers.
“This is about taking back the monies insurers have taken from you for procedures and materials that the repair required, that you the repairers have provided, that the consumer received, and that the insurer has failed to pay for,” said Eaves. “That is considered “Unjust Enrichment” for the insurers, and our legal team is going to help participating shops get back the monies they were deprived of.”
Cathy Mills, Executive Director of the Florida Autobody Collision Alliance (FACA) announced during the meeting that FACA was in full support of efforts to stop PartsTrader.
Barrett Smith of Auto Damage Experts (ADE), who was on hand to start the meeting, stated: “There has never been a better time for repairers to step up and collectively be represented and to stop the abuses that they face every day throughout the collision repair industry. Repairers must ask themselves: If not now, when?”
The Georgia Collision Industry Association (GCIA) presented a $2000 check to Maxwell High School to help it purchase equipment and supplies for its collision repair training program. The donation was made on behalf of Gene Hamilton (a GCIA Founding member) from the golf tournament honoring his service in the industry on Wednesday, October 2nd at the Trophy Club of Atlanta in Alpharetta, Ga.
Presenting the check is Michelle Coombs, owner Sports & Imports Collision and Gregg Goff, GCIA Board Member.
Sponsors of the event included:
In addition, the association had over 15 hole sign sponsors for the event. Many thanks to all of our wonderful sponsors.
About Maxwell High School of Technology
These guys are doing some great work for our industry by recruiting future technicians for Collision Repair. They currently have about 48 students including both AM and PM classes each day. They have state of the art equipment and train on the most current techniques in collision repair.
They are unsung heroes and GCIA is proud to partner with them to help make the future brighter in the collision industry where the average age of technician is over 50 years of age. If we do not look to support people and programs like this now and in the future, we will be faced with a severe shortage of qualified technicians to properly repair vehicles in our shops in Georgia.
Instructors Butch and Sam follow the I-CAR education curriculum and even train and administer the I-CAR welding test to students as they prepare them to enter the workforce in apprenticeship programs with several partnering collision repair centers. GCIA has agreed to make a commitment to take an active role in helping potential collision repair students and parents understand that the collision repair industry is a great and respectable career path that will engage and challenge students to improve their skill sets in an ever evolving technology based industry.
Maxwell High School of Technology
990 McElvaney Lane
Lawrenceville, GA. 30044
The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) has issued a position statement regarding insurer mandates. The position statement is as follows:
In representation of collision repair businesses across the United States, The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) takes exception to business mandates that property and casualty insurers impose upon collision repair businesses; particularly those that specify required vendors, business platforms or internal processes that must be followed in order to be included in, or avoid being excluded from, certain lines of work. As an example, insurer mandates surrounding parts procurement platforms may inhibit independent collision repair businesses from utilizing parts vendors with whom they have an existing relationship, providing insurers with greater influence and control over the parts supply chain.
SCRS believes this control falls outside of the scope of the insurance business. Some insurers are stipulating agreement to these terms, as a condition of being recognized in Direct Repair Programs (DRP). SCRS supports efforts that rightfully seek to eliminate such intrusion into the collision repair business, and enforcement of existing laws, regulations and codes that currently prohibit such actions. It is the opinion of SCRS that voluntary agreements cannot include stipulations which violate existing laws, rules and regulations. SCRS believes that collision businesses are capable of establishing successful vendor relationships and internal processes that will best accommodate the needs of the consumer, and that service providers will continue to respond to the market with increasingly creative solutions that drive performance for their customers and the respective market entities. We believe that solutions with tangible value propositions will be utilized and supported by the marketplace without the undue influence of insurer mandate.
As an example of the concerns addressed by the position statement, SCRS used the elimination of the “fax-only” option in the PartsTrader electronic ordering system that State Farm’s Select Service repair facility participants are required to use. The elimination of the fax-only option effectively requires suppliers to fully participate in the electronic parts marketplace or lose business from Select Service repair shops.
According to the press release announcing the new position statement, SCRS explained, “The rules of the game are changing and it is apparent that maintaining the relationships and negotiated deals of participating repair facilities is only a priority, so long as all involved submit to do business in the manner prescribed by State Farm Insurance, and other carriers with similar programs. Today these mandates address parts sourcing and ordering, but there is valid concern that they open the door to future market manipulation and influence over other similarly critical collision businesses purchasing habits as well.”
Applicable to All Volkswagen Models
Volkswagen continually enhances vehicle styling which includes precise aerodynamic designs and the highest quality paintwork. In order to maintaining these factory engineered standards, Volkswagen is providing collision repair centers with critical information pertaining to collision repair/parts replacement on Volkswagen vehicles.
“Solvent blending” is a method that in the past was commonly used to blend within an exterior body panel. This type of repair procedure cannot be used on the OEM applied finishes on vehicles today. The reason is simple; the bond between the OEM finish and the newly applied refinish paint cannot “blend” or “melt” into one another.
Additionally, the following problems are directly related to “solvent blending”:
- Lack of adhesion and/or delamination of the OEM finish and the refinish coating.
- Visible paint lines and defects are caused by polishing, buffing, or detailing a thin “solvent blended” area.
- “Solvent blending” products are not recommended or guaranteed by the paint companies that manufacture them. For a paint manufacturer guarantee, clearcoat must always be sprayed to the edge of the panel.
- “Solvent blending” products are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Many states have established regulations prohibiting the use of VOCs.
NOTE: “Solvent blending” is not an acceptable method of repair on any Volkswagen vehicle.
In a January 2013 study from the Property Casualty Insurers of America (PCI), their own research shows that if Aftermarket parts were banned, this would result in a $24.00 overall increase in premium prices per insured car per year.
Excerpted from the report:
This PCI Special Report provides an update of the estimated cost impact resulting from the banning of aftermarket parts.
- If non-OEM competitive replacement parts are no longer used, this may result in an additional $2.34 billion in insurance costs per year that could be passed on to drivers in the form of higher premiums.
- The insurance premium reflecting vehicle damage coverages may increase by about 4.2 percent more per insured car. This translates into a 2.6 percent increase in the combined liability and physical damage premium per insured car if non-OEM parts could no longer be used. On average, this means about $24 added to the overall premium per insured car each year.
Is the friction, the argument and the concern over using aftermarket parts really worth $24.00 per year per insured vehicle?
Read the full PCI Special Report (PDF download)
The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) announced that, for 2013, the Repairer Driven Education series (RDE) presented at the SEMA Show will be enhanced with the addition of three designated educational tracks designed to help those with a particular focus attend a series of course selections that all speak to a purpose.
“The track program was actually a proposal from one of our previous attendees,” said SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg. “It was suggested that with so many education options in our program, they wished there was a way to determine which selections therein that spoke most to what they were looking to gain. It is really important to us to use attendee input and feedback as a primary driver for program development, and it made so much sense to create sub-categories in the manner suggested.”
SCRS has created three categories of educational topics:
- Understanding your business: This track is designed to provide thorough training around fundamental components of running a successful collision repair business. The topics extend through estimating and blueprinting, workflow and cycle time impact, profit center management, marketing and online reputation management. Quite simply, if collision repair business owners and operators better understand the core of their business, they can better manage its success.
- Enhancing your business: This category focuses on business development and improvement such as production techniques, office efficiency, processes and documentation, creating a turn-key business, mechanization, automation, equipment and systems. If attendees want to target specific customer bases or types of work, increase your ability to get paid for necessary operations, and be prepared for current and future technologies they are going to need in their repair business, this is the track that will give them the tools, resources and knowledge to accomplish that.
- Positioning your business: Most business owners today are asking themselves one of two questions; how do I compete? Or, how do I sell my shop for the most value? This category is going to present solutions to both. It includes focused strategies for competing against consolidation, growth strategies, preparation on how to sell your business or purchase your competitor, and how to make your business as valuable as possible, whether you plan to continue to operate it, or to market it to others. It includes a glimpse into future technology trends as well as potential business trends based on varying market shifts, and all of it is going to be relevant to your business.
Though all RDE courses can be purchased a la carte, based on attendee interests, the tracks are designed to help attendees select appropriate courses to meet those interests. The full list of all the sessions offered in each of the tracks can be found online at www.semashow.com/scrs.
“Our single greatest objective since day one has been to deliver education which provides tangible information which can be immediately implemented when our attendees return home to their business,” shared Ron Reichen, SCRS Chairman. “In essence, we seek out subject matter that is well-delivered and relevant to what repairers want, and need, to know. We want topics that are so relevant and urgent to the changing landscape of the industry, they simply can’t afford to not attend.”
American Honda is pleased to announce the first two editions of Body Repair News, a new collision industry communication covering new Honda and Acura model body repair information is now available. The inaugural issues cover the 2014 Acura MDX and 2013 Honda Accord. Copies may be downloaded here. They can also be accessed by independent shops at American Honda’s Service Express website at techinfo.honda.com or techinfo.acura.com. Click on “Industry Position Statements & Body Repair News”, and then scroll down to Body Repair News.
Body Repair News, free to independent collision repair shops, are part of a series of American Honda publications that will be created to support new models that are constructed with significant amounts of high strength steel, and various other new technologies. Body Repair News publications are also planned for the following new models that have already gone on sale:
- 2014 Acura RLX
- 2014 Honda Odyssey
An edition of Body Repair News will be issued for every future new model. Any minor model change where significant body design changes are made will also have a body repair publication issued.
This publication is being issued as part of American Honda’s current initiative to enhance the ability of body shops to make safe and complete collision repairs on Honda & Acura vehicles through easier access to an increasing amount of collision repair information.
Body Repair News summarizes new body and vehicle technology that may affect collision and other body repairs. It is not intended to replace the detailed information contained in the body repair and service manuals. Rather, it simply helps collision repair industry personnel understand why using the factory service information is so important to make safe and complete repairs.