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Monday, 22 December 2014 00:00

Retro News: CIC Says 'No' to ASA, Sheila Loftus Predicts, Multi Association Task Force, Labor Rates

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20 years ago in the collision repair industry (January 1995)

Participants at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) in San Diego in January voted to reject the Automotive Service Association’s offer to fund and administer future CIC meetings. While shop owners, suppliers and insurers at the meeting praised ASA’s offer, many also said they felt ASA’s resources could be put to better use.

“I would like to commend the leadership of ASA for being willing to look at benevolent programs on the part of the industry,” Mitchell’s Ted Hill said. “But CIC has gotten where it has with its present (funding) method. If we change it, would we be cheating ourselves from some other opportunity that ASA’s funds could go toward to benefit the industry?”

ASA’s offer was presented to CIC by Bob Anderson, an Ohio shop owner and director of the ASA’s Collision Division. The proposal stated that ASA would use profits from the National Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE) to fund its administration of CIC, eliminating the need for CIC participants to pay a per-meeting fee or annual sponsorship fee.

“It would be an open-door policy for anyone who would like to attend,” Anderson said. “Many times, ASA has been criticized by those saying, ‘NACE makes some money; why don’t you do something for the industry?’ That is our intent here today. This is not an attempt by ASA to take control of CIC. We are not asking for any special considerations from this group by making this proposal. Our motives are sincere. It is merely to provide financial assistance to the industry.”

CIC participants voiced several concerns with ASA’s proposal, including the possible perception of CIC if administered by ASA.

“I honestly would be surprised if at any point in time this group decided to have any other group administrate it,” Jeff Hendler, a past CIC chairman and current administrator of CIC, said. “I don’t think Mitchell would like it if ADP or CCC made this proposal. I don’t think Ford would like it, if General Motors made this proposal. I don’t think ASA would like it if the Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association made the proposal. I think it’s the most benevolent gesture I’ve heard in a long, long time. I’d just like to see the money funneled somewhere else.”

Anderson said ASA would be open to consider CIC proposals for use of ASA resources and NACE profits.
     – As reported in Autobody News.

Now in its 31st year, CIC continues to be administered by Hendler’s company. ASA’s profits from NACE have presumably declined significantly since its offer to CIC in 1995. That year, NACE had 620 exhibiting companies and 31,000 attendees; last year, NACE had 6,500 attendees and 180 exhibiting companies

15 years ago in the collision repair industry (January 2000)

Now that we’ve seen one millennium come to a close, I’d like to have a crystal ball and be able to foresee what will happen in the next millennium. I’d even settle for being able to see about to the next 10 years. Or 50. Or 10.

I’m afraid, though, that I, like most non-visionaries, will just have to see how things go. Even so, I’ll venture my own New Year’s list of predictions.

Situation: The Baby Boomers are aging. The collision repair industry is already struggling to replace the Boomers in the workplace, and the search for good help will only get more difficult in this millennium. I’d like to see our industry actively embrace works we haven’t pursued in the past: women, minorities, non-English speakers.

Prediction: By 205, women will represent 10 percent of business owners in the collision repair industry, and the majority of workers in the industry will be first- and second-generation Americans.

Situation: One collision repairer I know said he’d be happy to concentrate all his business on one insurer. So in the future, will collision repair shops be appropriated by insurance company claims departments?

Prediction: In 2008, you’ll see the opening of Progressive Body Shop. And in 2009, you’ll se the closing of Progressive Body Shop.

     – From an editorial in Hammer & Dolly by Sheila Loftus. Progressive has not owned body shops, but within two years of Loftus’ column, the insurer began piloting its “Concierge” service centers. Allstate bought Sterling Collision Centers in 2001 and grew the chain until it sold it off last year. Virtually all auto insurers, however, have shifted significant portions of their claims administration to direct repair shops.

10 years ago in the collision repair industry (January 2005)

The three national collision repair associations have formed a “groundbreaking” joint taskforce as an off-shoot of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) to work on “macro issues related to the way the [estimating] database companies operate.”

Although the Association of Automotive Service Professionals (AASP), the Automotive Service Association (ASA), and the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) pushed for formation of the task force, the three groups said it will be open to participants from other segments of the industry, including insurers.

In announcing the proposal, SCRS chairman Lou DiLisio said the taskforce will not address concerns about a specific labor time. Rather, the taskforce will look at issues such as how large-scale changes are made to the estimating databases and introduced into the industry.

The creation of the taskforce comes in the wake of the ADP October (2004) situation in which paint labor times for about 150 vehicles were reduced. Such time reductions, whether made in error or not, are typically found by users only through trial and error, DiLisio said. The new taskforce may work toward a disclosure system for such changes.

“The ADP issue caused problems across the industry for insurers, repairers and consumers,” DiLisio said. “To try to stop that from happening again, we’d like to sit down with the information providers and figure out a better way to make sure there’s full disclosure of any changes that come forward.”

    – As reported in Autobody News.

The taskforce was active for about five years, during which time it successfully pushed the estimating system providers to add more information to the systems about such things as what types of metals are used in various parts of particular vehicles. It was less successful in pressing for such changes as automation of operations such as “feather, prime and block.”

“We’re disappointed in the lack of progress with some of the issues we’ve brought to the table,” DiLisio said in April of 2010.

5 years ago in the collision repair industry (January 2010)

The Rhode Island Supreme Court will hear arguments on February 9 in the legal battle over a 2006 state law mandating that every insurer (with more than 1 percent market share) in Rhode Island conduct a labor rate survey.

A state agency had said that under the law such surveys can be just one of a number of factors an insurer uses to determine a prevailing rate. But the Auto Body Association of Rhode Island sued the agency, and a lower court ruled in 2008 that the survey results must be “the sole determinant of the prevailing auto body labor rate.” The agency appealed that decision to the state’s Supreme Court.

    – As reported in CRASH Network (www.CrashNetwork.com), January 4, 2010. The Rhode Island Supreme Court later that year overturned the lower court’s ruling, saying that while the labor rate surveys must be conducted, they don’t have to be the sole determinant used by insurers in the state to determine a prevailing labor rate in a market.

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