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A hail-damaged vehicle in Red Deer, Alberta. There is evidence that hail storms are increasing in severity, leading to a greater need for PDR technicians.

By Jeff Sanford

Edmonton, Alberta -- April 14, 2016 -- You might be right if you think that there are more intense hailstorms these days than in the past. In fact, there is statistical evidence to back that observation up. A recent report from Verisk Insurance Solutions looked at the impact and severity of hailstorms across the US over a 14 year period. The report found what many seem to suspect—the number of serious hailstorms is rising. While the report focused on the US, there is ample anecdotal evidence to suggest that Canada is seeing more intense hail storms as well. 

The report, "Property Hail Claims in the United States: 2000-2013," crunched the data on nine million residential property hail claims from 2000 to 2013. What the report found was fascinating. Over the thirteen years of history, losses were greatest in the last six years. Of the $54 billion in claims in the 13 year period studied, 70 percent of this has occurred since 2007. According to the report hail severity has been on a steady rise since 2000 but in the past six-years has risen to be 65 percent higher than it was from 2000 to 2007.

Whatever the cause, there's growth in paintless dent repair (PDR). Domenic Serra of PDR Canada believes this growth means there is a need for a certain standardization and certification of PDR technicians.

Serra is currently working to introduce a new series of courses that will provide an education-track for those looking to get into PDR. As it is, PDR technicians have a similarly tough time as collision repair shop owners finding qualified techs. “It's even tougher than the collision repair industry to find people who can do this,” he says. Hence the need for a new training track.

“When I hire new guys, I need some kind of training path I can put them on. We're trying to built a more professional level of training for the PDR guys. We're creating a training path for paintless dent repair,” says Serra.

Serra is working with a partner to create the series of courses. The classes will be at a designated learning facility and will provide training on safety as well as some general instruction about working with vehicles, which some people coming into the industry for the first time might not have.

“The most important thing we'll be doing is to bring safety into the language used around PDR. We'll also be teaching some more general things like about how to restart the electronic memory that someone just getting into the industry might not know,” says Serra.

“The companies we work with see the benefit in this. They know the benefits of training. This is not in colleges. It's a hands-on trade. I-CAR was the first to start out on this path. But we felt we needed to look at this. This is where the industry is heading,” says Serra.“We're trying to professionalize the industry. I think the clients would feel better if they knew we were trained. Having that training tells a company and insurers, 'We're not just working on the car, we're on a knowledge path.'”

Both Alberta and the East Coast have experienced serious hail storms of late. The big trend is not lost on Serra. “The frequency of hail storms is definitely increasing,” he says. “The damage is a lot worse. We were up in Red Deer last summer. A lot of the cars were written off. The hail is more intensive today.”

Serra went on to say that his company and the firm he is partnering with are getting close to being able to announce something. “We're really close. We're just deciding whether this is going to be three or five courses. The mapping is not completely done. Another three or four months and we’ll have something to announce,” says Serra.

PDR Canada has locations in Edmonton/Red Deer Alberta, as well as a location in Simcoe, Ontario. For more information, please visit pdrcanada.ca.

 

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