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The Shop Perspective: Handling the Wave of Insurance Changes

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Handling the Wave of Insurance Changes
As the insurance landscape continues to change, collision repair shops will have to adapt.

Some shop owners rely on DRPs to drive business. Some are very passive when it comes to insurance negotiations. Others still are stern, but amicable.

And then there are those shop owners entrenched in a fight, aggressively pushing the importance of following OEM procedures, striving to upend what they perceive as a stranglehold over their businesses.

And that last crowd includes Rob DelGallo.

“I have a glued-on roof on a Sienna van. They welded maybe the front flange and the rear flange … the weld marks are not the right size per Toyota. There is glue oozing out. The vehicle owner went back, complained about water leaks and all this stuff; they blew her off,” he says.

That Toyota Sienna, according to DelGallo, owner of Factory Collision and Restoration in Weymouth, Mass., was originally repaired at an insurance company’s preferred shop; and just one of many cars on his lot with similarly botched repairs.

For him, that isn’t the worst part—it’s not being compensated for his repairs. It’s no surprise, then, that DelGallo doesn’t participate in DRPs, despite 80 percent of his business stemming from insurance work. What’s more, he only experiences severe pushback from one particular insurer.

And DelGallo isn’t the only one going through this.

Michael Bradshaw, vice president of K&M Collision in Hickory, N.C., has had his fair share of insurance dealings, as well. He, too, doesn’t participate in DRPs, but it wasn’t long ago (back in 2013) when the shop settled out of court with Nationwide for the same issues he’s having today: not getting paid for OEM-recommended repairs.

Having to constantly defend their shops’ position on repairs, both Bradshaw and DelGallo are in tune with the auto insurance industry’s overhaul. They each have thoughts on two constantly evolving, complex trends in particular that will reshape repairer-insurer relations: OEM procedures and virtual claims.

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