The press release reads as follows:
In response to a spirited call to action by AASP/NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant, a record number of association members have been stepping forward to voice their displeasure with the July 18 appointment of State Farm’s George Avery to the position of CIC chairman. The announcement of Avery’s appointment – which came mere hours after an explosive CIC Open Mic Session where multiple repairers blasted State Farm’s controversial PartsTrader program—has left many repairers throughout the industry with questions.
“We feel the timing of this decision is unfortunate because of the perception it creates,” Bryant stated in his message to members. “Mr. Avery holding this position represents an obvious conflict of interest as CIC continues to address this emotionally charged and industry-changing parts program.” Bryant then urged members to contact current CIC Chairman Michael Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org and CIC Administrator Jeff Hendler at email@example.com to voice their displeasure with the decision to place “a [very partisan] insurance guy at the helm of CIC.” As he explains, the industry quickly and candidly made their opinions known. “Within minutes of sending out my initial press release, I received statements from several members speaking to their disappointment with this decision,” he says from AASP/NJ Headquarters in Neptune. “It is my hope that the industry continues to speak out against not only this questionable act by the CIC in nominating Mr. Avery, but also regarding the PartsTrader program itself.”
AASP/NJ Legislative Committee Chairman and longtime Board member Brian Vesley was among the first to convey his concerns on the matter. “What I know about Mr. Avery from his public positions… is that for many years, he has been the spokesperson for the narrowest self-interest of insurers and his employer,” Vesley wrote in a message sent on August 3. “Mr. Avery’s professional abilities are not in question; rather, the issue is the inherent conflict between his history of public advocacy of controversial insurer programs and the less partisan responsibilities of the CIC Chair. Mr. Avery and his employer should decline the nomination if they value the integrity of the Collision Industry Conference.”
“Find a suitable candidate who can best guide the membership toward [CIC’s] original mission and vision statement,” urged fellow AASP/NJ member Matt Casiano in a similar correspondence. “[Avery’s appointment] will be giving State Farm exactly what they want: Ushering in their new PartsTrader plan and once again inflicting serious damage on another attempt by our industry to unite in the face of a future that is daunting, at best.”
Another longtime AASP/NJ member shop (who requested anonymity) echoed the sentiments of his association colleagues in the message he sent. “I strongly urge you to reconsider your nominee; put that power in the hands of someone who… has a true understanding of the struggles that shops like mine go through every day to keep customers safe and pay our bills.”