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SCRS Study: Estimated Time for Repair Not Consistent with Insurer Expectations

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May 5, 2014—Industry-wide averages for estimated time for repair do not mesh with many expectations placed on shops by insurance carriers, according to a new study from the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS).

The SCRS analyzed repair data provided by CCC Information Services Inc. and Mitchell International, relative to hours per claim in the fourth quarter of 2014, and compared those statistics to the average length of rental from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and The Hertz Corporation over that same time period.

While cross referencing the data provided different results, no combination of data sets supported an expectation reaching 3.0 hours per day. (Results were obtained by dividing the average hours per claim by the average length of rental.) For example, comparing the CCC information with that of Enterprise showed that, on average, a 30 hour job took an estimated 15 days to produce—giving a median multiplier of 0.5.

The results were similar to those of Mitchell’s Auto Physical Damage report for first quarter 2013. In that study, the median multiplier across 49 states was 0.47 with a standard variation of 0.05.

"We recognize the challenges associated with drawing conclusions from two disparate data sources," added Luis Alonso, SCRS industry issues committee chairman. "Our conclusions are going to have a higher standard of deviation because we are averaging averages rather than raw data, and also because the data sets may cover two different spans of information.

“For instance, [insurance provider] estimate data is based on overall uploaded estimates which will reflect some vehicles that may not be repaired, and rental company data is based on repaired vehicles that did utilize a rental. Recognizing these factors, all the results still confirmed that none of the numbers produced anything resembling the expectations being placed on repairers by some in the insurance industry."

According to the SCRS, insurance companies using a six-hour-per-day calculation give customers an expectation that a 30-hour job will be completed in five days. Others using a five-hour-per-day benchmark, say that same job will be completed in six days.

"The resulting calculations demonstrate the huge level of disparity between reality and expectation," added Schulenburg. "Unfortunately, these false levels of expectation add waste into the repair process by creating costly and unnecessary administration for both the repairer and the rental agency, and can almost assuredly factor in a level of frustration for the consumer that could be avoided if we used better information to set their expectation at the onset of the process. The objective should be to set an expectation that will produce a consumer experience that lives up to what was promised; unfortunately, if we use bad data to establish the metrics, we are setting ourselves up for failure from the beginning."

SCRS national director Dusty Womble used the same methods to calculate repair expectation times in his own facility, Roger Beasley Collision Center in Austin, Texas. After the analysis, he determined that 2.0 hours per day was the appropriate expectation level to give his customers, citing the complexity and challenges involved in the repair process.

“Interestingly, the adjusted formula made a huge difference in our customer interactions," Womble said. "Our Customer Service Index (CSI) scores shot up by about 7 percentage points, simply because the consumer perception regarding the vehicle being delivered 'on time' changed. We didn't adjust anything else in our workflow, other than the expectation we were setting up front for the anticipated completion. It's a great example of how we can directly impact the consumer experience in a positive manner if the focus becomes on educating the vehicle owner on the realities of the repair process."

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