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Mitchell trend report looks into impact of special materials on estimates

Mitchell has released its Industry Trends Report for the first quarter of 2017.

San Diego, California — March 7, 2017 — Mitchell International has released its Industry Trends Report (ITR) for the first quarter of 2017. In this latest edition, Mitchell executives take a close look at the use of special materials and its impact on estimating and repair costs, and how data and analytics can improve third party claims.

The report also includes a look at five hot topics in business today, explores the technology and social trends behind them, and considers what they mean for both the insurance industry and collision repairers:

•    Technology Transformation
•    Operational Excellence
•    The Evolution of Work
•    Customer Experience
•    Corporate Culture as Business Strategy

High-end European brands have been using special materials for decades, but their use in North American and Asian brands is relatively new. Pound for pound, aluminum can absorb twice the crash energy of mild steel and larger crush zones can be designed without corresponding weight penalties.

Mitchell’s Hans Littooy, Vice President, Consulting and Professional Services, Auto Physical Damage, discusses the impact that using special materials has on the estimating and repair process. Littooy highlights how Mitchell’s solutions allow for specialty materials to be identified and provide details on the recommended repair process. While Mitchell offers appraisers the ability to change labour rates for specialty materials, both appraisers and carriers will need to determine when to change labour rates and for which operations.
 
Littooy was struck by the increasing use of special materials while at SEMA, noting that many of the new vehicles being shown, including the Cadillac CT6, the Chevy Bolt and the Audi Q7, used construction techniques and materials that had rarely, if ever, been used before in North American vehicles.

“I started to think what the claims impact all of these new special materials are going to have on claims
severity,” he writes. “And an equally interesting question is how will appraisers and body technicians address repairing these vehicles, which often require different repair processes than how the OE built the car?”

The complete report is available at mitchell.com/industry-trends-report.

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