Toronto, Ontario -- November 8, 2018 -- In a recent survey looking at how bodyshop professionals grade auto insurers, Collision Repair was struck by how many respondents included their thoughts on direct repair programs on their surveys. Writing under the condition of anonymity, the following responses represent the most striking--and candid--opinions shared with us. Edited for style, spelling and to protect the anonymity of the writers, we have left the substance of the comments entirely unchanged.
To share your own views on direct repair programs, please email Collision Repair's editor Gideon Scanlon.
Direct repair programs are killing small, independent bodyshops. Insurance companies will use every dirty trick to force customers to a DRP shop:
1) They refuse to offer warranties on our repairs. You feel like an ambulance chaser, having to explain to customers that it is the shop, not the insurer, who guarantee the work.
2) They sometimes put a five-day wait on the customer receiving a rental car unit
3) If they have possession of the vehicle, they will four or five days to drop it off; if there is a price difference between us an a DRP, they'll refuse to pay the difference.
Hey Ed! They should be called discounted repair programs, not direct repair programs!
If insurance companies were not so aggressively promoting their DRP's, the Ma and Pa shops would stand a chance. The phrase"We don't guarantee the work of a shop that is not on the program" is all too common nowadays, and is costing us customers who have trusted us for 28 years! Having my customers go to the competition for an appraisal is ridiculous and us having to work off of their sheets is so unfair. Try to get a supplement after the fact without having to jump through hoops and hurdles.
Most insurers seem too willing to blame shops for problems, despite insisting they can't guarantee our work. They also use archaic methods for calculating the amount of time spent on repairs.
At the moment, we get walked all over by insurers -- just let us know when you have a new hoop to jump through and we will take it on the chin! Business is a two-sided relationship, but our side is not in the game. We have a great opportunity to change this with accreditation and training.
I have been in business for 30 years, and have never had a problem from an insurer about my repairs. Still, they will try and redirect my company to DRP Shops!
Most insurance companies treat our industry poorly-- as if sitting down periodically and discussing wins and losses, and process improvements were taboos!
I worked very hard to become a preffered shop with my province's public insurer. I was proud when I found out we had succeeded. Now, two years later, I have to wonder why they aren't forwarding me any customers!