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AASP/NJ speaks out against new CIC chairman

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Aug. 20, 2012—Several members of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) have voiced opposition to the appointment of George Avery, auto claims consultant for State Farm Insurance, as the next chairman of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC).

Avery is scheduled to begin his term as CIC chairman in January. He will succeed Michael Quinn, who has served as CIC chairman since January 2011.

But Charles Bryant, executive director of AASP/NJ, said many members of the organization are disappointed with the decision due to its simultaneous timing with the controversy surrounding State Farm’s parts procurement system through PartsTrader. AASP/NJ members feel Avery’s appointment creates a conflict of interest.

“We feel the timing of this decision is unfortunate because of the perception it creates. Mr. Avery holding this position represents an obvious conflict of interest as CIC continues to address this emotionally charged and industry-changing parts program,” Bryant said. “It is my hope that the industry continues to speak out against not only this questionable act by the CIC in nominating Mr. Avery, but also regarding the PartsTrader program itself.”

When Avery accepted the position as CIC chairman, he said that he would turn control over to a past chairman if a State Farm issue came up so he could represent the insurer without overstepping boundaries of the leadership role. But AASP/NJ said its members still aren’t convinced.

“What I know about Mr. Avery from his public positions is that for many years, he has been the spokesperson for the narrowest self-interest of insurers and his employer,” said Brian Vesley, member of AASP/NJ’s board of directors and chairman of the association’s Legislative Committee. “Mr. Avery’s professional abilities are not in question; rather, the issue is the inherent conflict between his history of public advocacy of controversial insurer programs and the less partisan responsibilities of the CIC Chair. Mr. Avery and his employer should decline the nomination if they value the integrity of the Collision Industry Conference.”

Bryant said industry professionals with questions regarding Avery’s appointment as CIC chairman should contact the CIC’s current chairman, Michael Quinn, or CIC’s administrator, Jeff Hendler. 

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