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FenderBender’s Top Stories of 2015

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Dec. 31, 2015—From innovative new shop processes and advancing technology to industry consolidation and insurer relations issues, 2015 was a year of great change in the collision repair industry. 

And as 2015 comes to a close, the team at FenderBender took a look at the most popular magazine and news stories of the last 12 months—the stories that highlighted the newsmakers, strategies and businesses that have helped shape the industry moving forward.

In the news … 

Driven Brands’ CARSTAR Acquisition Reshapes Industry Consolidation. Driven Brands—an automotive giant that already included organizations such as Maaco, Meineke, 1-800 Radiator and others—announced on Oct. 22 that it had acquired CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts from its equity holder, Champlain Capital Partners. The move led to the dismissal of some key members of the CARSTAR leadership team and drastically changed the landscape of the industry.

Former Progressive Employee: Insurer Intentionally Steered Customers. In May, A sworn affidavit from a former Progressive estimator accused the insurer of “intentionally” steering its customers away from a multiple-location collision repair business in Tennessee and says that Progressive employees were evaluated directly on their abilities to steer vehicle owners to the insurer’s direct repair facilities, according to documents obtained by FenderBender.

GM Begins Tests of MyPriceLink in Select Cities. Also in May, General Motors announced that it would perform market tests of MyPriceLink, its market-focused collision parts initiative, in select cities over the summer prior to its official launch late in 2015.

State Farm Issues Response to CNN Report of Insurer Accusations. CNN’s report on insurance-related issues in the collision repair industry aired on Anderson Cooper 360 on Feb. 11, and as reaction poured in, one of the industry stakeholders at the heart of the feature, State Farm Insurance, issued a response to FenderBender.

JD Power Releases Annual Auto Claims Satisfaction Insurance Ratings. The results of the company’s 2015 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, released in October as deep dive into claims satisfaction, showed that overall consumer outlook on the insurance industry remained flat.

Four Body Shops Caught in Insurance Fraud Scheme. A multi-agency task force in Texas made 10 arrests of employees at four El Paso–area collision repair businesses on Nov. 19, concluding a 22-month-long investigation into insurance fraud.

From the magazine … 

Breaking Paint Booth Bottlenecks. Surefire strategies for efficient paint department throughput.

Inside an F-150 Structural Repair. The valuable (and numerous) lessons learned by Waikem Body Shop after completing what at the time was one of the industry’s largest F-150 structural repairs to date.

The Rise of Robotic Drying. Insight into how gas catalytic drying technology could completely change work flow in collision repair shops.

The Legality of Flat-Rate Pay. Two years after a California law bans flat-rate pay, a lawsuit against Caliber shows the state is struggling to meet requirements.

A Painters Role in Improving Shop Efficiency. A look at how Robert Rodriguez works with his team in improving shop efficiency in the paint department at Able Body Shop.

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