Monday, 10 December 2012 21:21

ASA Collision Division Recaps 2012, Moves Forward into 2013

The ASA Collision team, composed of ASA staffer Denise Caspersen and ASA collision members participating on the ASA Collision Division Operations Committee, led by team director Dan Stander, owner of Fix Auto Highlands Ranch, with input from the ASA Board of Directors, had a productive 2012 representing the ASA membership and engaging with the various segments of the industry that affect the ASA collision repair membership.

ASA is fortunate to have willing volunteers with diverse backgrounds actively donating their time, mindshare and leadership in addressing actions and issues of the association.

“ASA’s collision division functions extremely well as a team and approaches things just that way, as a team,” said Caspersen.

Just as the collision repair industry faced multiple challenges and changes in 2012, so did the volunteers and staff of ASA’s collision division. Following the release of a revised ASA crash parts policy, supporting the original part as the standard of measure, and a joint statement with AASP and SCRS recommending that original manufacturer repair procedures be considered as the standard, the ASA’s collision team began 2012 with the announcement of a strategic alliance with alternative parts manufacturer, Diamond Standard, that afforded ASA members with product liability protection against the unlikely scenario of damage or personal injury directly related to use of Diamond Standard parts in the repair.

In early 2012, ASA Arizona played a vital role in bringing about the removal of language from House bill 2394 which would have forced shops, in many situations, to absorb the costs associated with vehicle storage or bill it to the vehicle owner.

This was accompanied by ASA Texas bringing forth opposition to proposed licensing ordinances in early 2012 followed by ASA Texas challenging the state’s franchise tax law in mid 2012.

At the federal level, ASA began the year monitoring an auto parts bill, H.R. 3889, Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade and Sales Act (PARTS). The bill would amend the U.S. design patent law to change the period of design patent protection for automakers from 14 years to 30 months. ASA joined with 10 other automotive groups in opposition to the bill while monitoring actions in the U.S. House Judiciary subcommittee.

Continuing a long-standing tradition of ASA calling for the repeal of McCarran-Ferguson, ASA showed support for federal bill, H.R. 5 asking for the restoration of the Application of Antitrust Laws to Health Sector Insurers, which passed on the House floor in the first quarter.

Also related to insurance, ASA attended a workshop in the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice review of Most Favored Nation (MFN) clauses within the insurance industry. Prior to the workshop the FTC noted: “The most commonly used MFN provisions guarantee a customer that it will receive prices that are at least as favorable as those provided to other buyers of the same seller, for the same products or services. Although at times employed for benign purposes, MFNs can, under certain circumstances, present competitive concerns. This is because they may, especially when used by a dominant buyer of intermediate goods, raise other buyers’ costs or foreclose would-be competitors from accessing the market. Additionally, MFNs can facilitate collusion and stabilize coordinated pricing among sellers.”  ASA will continue interest in Most Favored Nation discussion in 2013.

The 2012 ASA legislative objects and can also be located on the ASA legislative website at www.takingthehill.com – sidebar – Legislative Objectives - http://www.takingthehill.com/objectives.htm. 2013 ASA legislative objects will be appearing there in the very near future.

In addition to working with SCRS and AASP on seeing vehicle manufacturers repair procedures recognized as the standard for repair procedures, ASA continued in the three’s mutual support of the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG) program, which continues to provide free industry support for addressing questions of information provided the industry leading information providers.

Throughout 2012, ASA’s collision division also provided the ASA membership with representation by taking part  on the on the I-CAR Board of Directors, the CIECA Board of Directors, the WIN Board of Directors, CIC meetings and the CIC Data Privacy committee. ASA looks forward to continued interactions with these bodies in 2013.

These items were in addition to the lengthy and extensive engagement of ASA’s collision team centered on the electronic parts procurement application currently piloted by State Farm. During many conversations, ASA’s collision division has been met with both support and disappointment of ASA’s approach of professionalism, factual understanding and industry engagement in addressing this pilot.

During the early stages of the pilot, information was presented to the industry which brought both concern and confusion to the ASA membership. In early April, the ASA collision team took on the challenge of providing ASA’s membership and the collision industry with as much verifiable information as possible through the engagement with as many segments as possible, in addition to speaking directly with State Farm and the application’s designer, PartsTrader.

Over the past months, this approach also called for the ASA collision volunteers to express the concerns of the ASA membership (initially centered around the repairer/supplier relationship, and then expanding to specifics of the application, and now on ‘what happens to the collision repair shop’s profit on parts?’) and follow up on requests for data on what are the affects of the pilot are on those participating. The December 2012 expansion of the pilot to the 475 Select Service shops in the Chicago, IL, area will broaden the test market to approximately 600 collision repair facilities currently on the Select Service program.

To date, ASA has provided the industry with 13 statements focused on the State Farm Select Service pilot, including: initial details of the pilot; public request for result data of the pilot; overviews of industry meetings; changes to the pilot and detailed coverage of ASA’s ongoing conversations with State Farm. ASA will continue to be a part of conversations, advocacy and communications about the State Farm electronic parts procurement application in 2013.

ASA’s communication pieces specific to the State Farm pilot can be located on the ASA website at www.ASAshop.org. Click on “Tools & Resources,” then “State Farm Pilot Program.”

And lastly, the ASA collision team spent many hours designing and leading in the educational elements of Automotive Service and Repair Week (ASRW), which took place in New Orleans, LA, in October.  During the week, ASRW conducted more than 80 educational sessions, along with NACE forums and the Assembly, a town hall type discussion for repairers only. For those attending ASRW in 2012 and taking part in the invaluable educational activities, it’s likely you heard from ASA’s collision team in various sessions, panels and forums.

ASA’s communications pieces specific to all the other above mentioned actives of the ASA collision division for 2012 are found at www.asashop.org.  Click on “News & Events,” then Latest News – 2012 Press Releases.

The key driver in ASA collision team actions continues to be centered on the engagement of the ASA collision leadership and the ASA membership at large.  To be a part of the conversation, continue to contact ASA’s collision division manger, Denise Caspersen by email; denisec@asashop.org or phone at (817)-514-2906.

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