EV Future: More OEM-Insurer Cooperation?

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Feb. 4, 2021—The Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association held a webinar last month titled "Preparing for the EV Revolution," with speakers from an OEM, an insurance company, and a consulting firm discussing electric vehicle trends and what a future with fewer internal combustion engine vehicles could mean for collision repairers.

One of the lead takeaways from the Jan. 26 program was that insurers and OEMs will soon need to work more closely together to repair EVs, due to their advanced technology and the precision required to properly repair them.

Pete Tagliapietra, business development leader at NuGen IT, an OEC Company, said that following OE procedures are "absolutely critical to the correct repair of EVs," more so than for internal combustion vehicles.

With the precision required for proper repairs, Tagliapietra said, automakers will also be very interested in protecting their brands, underscoring a need to shore up and have procedures followed across the board by repairers. That's where certified repair networks come in.

"It certainly brings one to conclude that the future of collision repair networks will be just as important to insurance companies as they are to the OEMs," said Tagliapietra.

John Eck, collision manager, Wholesale Dealer Channel, General Motors Customer Care & Aftersales, echoed some of Tagliapietra's sentiments. He said shops and insurers need to forge better relationships to carry out more advanced repairs that follow procedures. He also said more coordinated work could improve understanding for all involved in repairs.

"This is the opportunity in 2021 ... where we need to pull the stakeholders together almost in a formalized manner ... to sit down at a table on a regular basis to map out what these projects might look like," he said.

Chris Evans, claim consultant, P&C Claims, State Farm Insurance Companies, said he remembered a time in his career when OEs were more involved in collision repair, adding he was glad to see them back. He called for transparency in collaboration, for OEs to make legacy information accessible, and stated how significant OE input on repairs has become.

"The OEMs have really come a long way in developing their collision repair procedures ... networks, methodology," he said.

Said Tagliapietra, "We've got to get along and get together on how we repair these vehicles properly."

Other Takeaways

  • Evans said State Farm is working with carmakers on how to use the information generated by advanced vehicles to streamline the repair process. Assuming there's customer consent, Evans said a vehicle in the moments after a collision could send the insurer basic information about the incident—where, conditions at the time, what happened in the seconds prior to the crash. That information could go straight into a loss report, he said, "giving us multiple field inputs, and when that customer contacts us we've already got a lot of that information."
  • All three speakers said that advanced driver-assistance systems have led to fewer accidents, while severity remains an issue. Evans said that State Farm, with respect to EVs, sees backend hits more frequently. 
  • Tagliapietra said he'd like to see repair orders shared more widely. "That repair order needs to have the data available to the different key stakeholders," he said, adding that's "absolutely needed for the good of the whole."

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