By Jeff Sanford
Calgary, Alberta — February 23, 2016 — The collision repair industry just entered a new era. Intact Insurance has opened a new service centre in Calgary that provides a new level of customer engagement when it comes to collision repair. In an interview with Collision Repair magazine, Mike Van Elsberg, Deputy Senior VP of Claims, Western Division for Intact, notes that the decision to open the location was driven by a desire to improve customer service.
“It’s a customer service initiative,” said Van Elsberg. “It’s something we heard from customers. They told us that all the time it takes to bring the car in, get a rental, that’s time they don’t want to spend.”
According to a statement from Intact, the company will open four new Service Centres in urban areas across Canada that will see customers able to drop their car off and get a rental vehicle, while leaving the delivery of the car to the collision repair centre up to the insurance company. The new service centre will serve both Intact and belairdirect customers.
Essentially, Intact Insurance will do the customer’s work for them. Once at the Service Centre, the customer drops off their damaged vehicle and then leaves in a rental vehicle, while Intact Insurance or belairdirect makes arrangements to get the vehicle appraised, repaired and cleaned. Once the vehicle is fixed, the customer picks it up and returns the rental vehicle. There is no need to wait for a repair date, go to a repair shop or arrange a rental car.
“It’s a storefront type of arrangement. You make an appointment. You bring the vehicle to the store. We greet you at the door and then bring the vehicle into the service bay at the back of the shop for an inspection. We have a discussion about what needs to be done, and then we shuttle the vehicle to a collision repair facility. The customer leaves in a rental that we have right on site,” says Van Elsberg.
Van Elsberg says this is the first program of its type in Canada that he is aware of. “We’re continually trying to innovate,” he says.
According to Van Elsberg, the collision centres the cars will be delivered to are from the company’s direct repair partner (DRP) program.
“We have our network. We have aligned a number of shops within that network to complete the repairs to our customers’ vehicles,” said Van Elsberg. “We talked to some of the shops in the network and explained what we were doing. This isn’t for all customers. But for those who want it, it’s there.”
The Calgary store is the first one to open. According to Van Elsberg, Intact hopes similar service centres will open in Ottawa and Toronto by the end of the year, with Montreal to follow shortly after that. “We are making things easier for customers after an automobile accident,” he said. “This process is simpler, more efficient and could save customers time. Customers will drive their repaired cars sooner.”