In 2016, long-time CRM columnist and co-owner of Budd's Collision, Sam Piercey, died. A fearless defender of the industry, his loss is still felt by those of us who valued his frank opinions about the concerns held by collision repairers that were too often left unvoiced for fear of their controversial nature.
In recent days, Sam's absence has seemed particularly pronounced. In the wake of the W5 report on Aviva's fraud investigation of nine bodyshops, our newsroom has received numerous calls from shop owners, consumer advocates and collision repair technicians. Some wanted to speak candidly about their concerns about the way the study, others expressed concerns about how the industry had been unfairly disparaged. Still others spoke frankly about a perceived breakdown in the relationship between shops and repairers. Several mentioned Sam by name, lamenting the fact that he could no longer be counted on to speak up and speak out.
While the opinions varied, one thing was consistent in all of these conversations: they were concerned about coming forward. They feared voicing opinions that might put them on the wrong side of insurers or fellow repairers. They hoped CRM could give them the opportunity to make their voices heard without fear of reprisal.
Our staff are now working on a platform that will enable industry members to do just that. We are creating an online forum which will allow our readers to have open and honest discussions about the industry, insurers, OEMs, regulation and any other topic too risky to speak about on the record. In order to make this as effective a tool as possible for enabling the community to speak out, we would like to invite readers to participate in a survey that will provide us with vital statistics on what is needed for this platform to succeed. Please feel free to provide long answers in the spaces provided, as the more information we have to work with the more effectively we will be able to get the job done.
If you are as eager as we are to help build this platform for open discussion, please click this link and take five minutes to complete the survey.
Publisher, Collision Repair magazine