On April 22 the Automotive Service Association (ASA) announced that Dan Risley had been named interim executive director. The announcement came a little over a month after Risley joined ASA as Executive Vice President. Risley began his 24 year career in his family’s collision repair business in Illinois, and has worked for Allstate Insurance for six years since leaving SCRS, an experience he says gave him “a completely different perspective” on insurers and how they operate, something that will benefit the association and ASA members.
“My perspective on insurers is changed,” Risley told a trade industry media source recently, “I walked in there with my preconceived notions about what insurance companies do, why they do it, what influence they have, what they try to influence and what’s important to them. And some of those things were true, and a lot of them really weren’t. A lot of them were completely different than what I thought they would be.
Risley’s most recent position with Allstate involved overseeing part of the insurer’s DRP network. “I was the market claim manager for the Good Hands Repair network. Basically, I had oversight [of the shops] in half of the country and the staff that oversees them. Again, it was a very unique perspective that I was able to attain, because I got to see firsthand what was really important to insurance companies.
“What motivates [insurers] with some issue, may be the completely the opposite of what you might read in the trade press or what you might hear from the industry in general. The broader perspective [I gained from working at Allstate], when we approach a particular issue, is going to allow me to maybe have a little bit different strategy and tactic in terms of how we might address that and maybe bring it to a resolve a little bit quicker.”
One of those insurer related issues the association is currently engaged with is State Farm’s PartsTrader initiative.
Risley believes there has been some confusion around ASA’s position on PartsTrader. He explained, “ASA does not support PartsTrader and, by the way, nor should we. As an association it’s not our role to support or endorse a given product. ASA does not support State Farm and nor should we.”
“We view PartsTrader in a very similar vein as we do an estimating system or a CSI vendor. We didn’t support any insurance company mandating those. So this falls in that same bucket. We don’t endorse or support any insurance company mandating the use of specific products.” Risley said.
Risley said that members that have participated in the pilot have shared concerns about how the system works, and that while they have concerns, they are working with PartsTrader and State Farm to improve the system. Risley explained that the association has maintained an active dialog with both PartsTrader and State Farm on the issue and he believes this ongoing dialog has led to some confusion about ASA’s position.
Risley said, “We’ve very clearly heard from our membership that this has been a product that has not been a value-add. It has actually cost them more in administrative time, it’s more of a burden.”
Commenting on parts e-commerce generally, Risley believes the concept is here to stay regardless of the outcome of State Farm’s pilot with PartsTrader.
“We’re not going to stop parts procurement. We’re not going to stop e-commerce. That stuff is going to happen. But we can play a role in making it better,” explained Risley.
Right now, though, there are concerns about the value these new products and processes bring to the collision repairer.
“Someday could it be possible that those products are driving more value back down to the repairers? The answer is ‘yes.’ It will eventually get there. But when that does happen, repairers are going to adopt them all by themselves because it’s going to help them be more efficient,” explained Risley. “If it’s not helping them be more efficient today and we’re being told we have to use them, that’s a completely different context for us. Why would we support that?”
Risley has also said that ASA views the use of Most Favored Nation (MFN) clauses in DRP contracts as a much bigger concern for repairers than PartsTrader.
“We’ve heard a lot of noise on PartsTrader, and heard relatively nothing on the most favored nation clauses [but] the PartsTrader piece probably affects a smaller subset of the industry, when the most favored nation clause not only affects your State Farm business, but it has the possibility of impacting every job that comes through your shop.”