By Gideon Scanlon
Toronto, Ontario -- March 1, 2019 -- Though we may point out any number of differences between our culture and that of our neighbour, Canadians usually accept that our culture is very similar to America's. We eat the same food, we drive the same vehicles, we watch the same television shows--and many of us get our vehicles repaired at the same banner franchises. Within the collision repair industry, however, it has always seemed to me that these differences run far deeper.
In Canada, industry meetings are far more likely to cover convincing insurers to pay for the costs of making modern, technically involved repairs, while with In the United States, the industry's discussions often revolve more around questions of liability.
Until last week, I suspected this distinction had more to do with the fact that the legal ramifications of the John Eagle decision on repairers remained unclear. Now, however, I think there might be more to it. In fact, I am starting to suspect that it isn't the repairers who are all that different from one another--it is the auto insurers.
Late last month, I travelled down to Texas, to visit the headquarters of a major remote diagnostic scanning company. Like any self-respecting collision industry reporter, I'd been fascinated by the company's in depth approach to scanning, and eager to find out as much as I could about its plans for the future.
With a number of other true northerners in key positions and a loyal customer base up here to boot, I was surprised to learn that the company viewed the Canadian market as one they were still establishing themselves in. One of the reasons that was highlighted was the fact that Canadian auto insurers were more likely to view a remote diagnostic scan as a luxury than their American counterparts. Where Canadian insurers see luxury, however, American ones are more likely to see increased transparency.
It isn't just this company, with its game-changing and oft misunderstood technology, that feels our insurance companies have different priorities to their American peers. In the days since, I've spoken with other companies in different areas of the market, and heard a few stories about how Canadian insurers are slow to accept new approaches--even if they offer the opportunity for savings.
With this cultural divide in mind, it only makes sense that Canada's collision community is, well, somewhat obsessed with finding ways to convince insurers to cover even technologically necessary procedures--after all we do repair the same vehicles!