WMABA Reviews CNN’s Collision Repair Story by Anderson Cooper

Jordan Hendler, Executive Director

VIDEO: Are cheap repairs part of an insurance scheme? – including Article.

On February 11, CNN’s Anderson Cooper aired a special expose of the collision industry during his nightly broadcast of Anderson Cooper 360, “Are Cheap Repairs Part of an Insurance Scheme?” If you have not already seen it, the video coverage can be viewed at http://cnn.it/1EZTGPa. It was a 10 minute piece that will go down in infamy for our industry, covering examples of how consumers have been harmed as a result of insurance company interjection into parts and repair service provider selection.

Covering a broad range of issues in a short amount of time, the video left one sour taste for me: the notion that all preferred shops are providing poor repair quality. We know this is simply not true. The differentiation of repairers comes at the helm of education, tooling, and dedication to providing safe, quality repairs on continuously advancing vehicle platforms with ever-increasing OEM requirements. Not whether they participate in a direct repair agreement.  There are plenty of great repairers in DRP agreements, and conversely poor examples of independents. That issue aside, WMABA is pleased that CNN has given our industry this much needed exposure.

The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) highlighted the issue of differentiation in their review of the newscast, saying, “In a well-functioning market, those with lesser skill, lesser capability and lesser quality would be incentivized to improve because those who perform better would receive appropriately higher degrees of compensation based on skill and competition. Consumers would seemingly seek out those with the best skill set available to them, further ensuring their vehicles are safely repaired, and providing those leading repairers with greater market share. Unfortunately, insurers often refuse to recognize these gradations in the marketplace; just as they have proven not to distinguish similar gradations between part qualities.” 

Where we hope progress can be made is the incentivizing of having the proper education, tools, and equipment with a fair compensation. This emphasis, rather than the current lowest price, highest use of alternative parts, or quickest turnaround would improve the overall quality of the repair process for all parties involved, and mostly the consumer. All consumers want their car back fast, and for no additional out of pocket, but with rare exception would knowingly trade that for their safety or diminished value of their vehicle.

Once watched, how does that help us, and how can it be used for the common good?

It can be a stepping stone for other news media to give coverage to our industry. As an association, resources like this are hard to come by from an outside perspective. Especially, when they’re devoted to the position of the consumer and still convey a meaningful story. Having momentum is important for securing meetings, memberships, news sources and more, so this serves as a tremendous help in that regard. In the end of it, we utilize this material to open a door easier than it may have before.

If you are a shop who addresses issues showcased in the footage on a daily basis, then you may want to consider putting it in a lobby video for your customers. You’d likely want to loop it with other helpful information, rather than on its own, so that the redundancy doesn’t become an irritation.

This is why you need to be a member of WMABA

I know we say it a lot, but it’s vital for your support of the association to keep up on these types of works. This may have been produced from the inquiry made by those in the lawsuit, but we can utilize the same information at the local level, within the contacts we already have. We assist with these issues on the level where we can create change for the better in your market. If you’re a member, Thank You for your continued support. If not, please do get that application and get in today!