Words In Review: Key quotes heard in the industry in 2011
compiled by John Yoswick
Here’s our annual compendium of some of the most memorable, important, interesting or enlightening quotes heard in the industry during the past 12 months.
“It's stealing. It's no different than me sending my receptionist to the convenience store and saying that if she wants to work here, she needs to bring me a soda without paying for it, because I'm thirsty."
– Mike Morris of Auto Collision Specialists in Greeley, Colo., saying that State Farm arbitrarily lowered the refinish time on a repaired bumper, listing "partial paint right side and full clear."
"We realize not all customers use a network shop, and we want to make it easier to do business for those shops and for our customers."
– Allstate’s Dan Risley, saying last spring that the insurer would roll-out technology to enable shops that are not part of Allstate's direct repair program to communicate electronically with the insurer, much as its DRP shops do.
"If they do subscribe, they really don't have any control of whether or not their data is used beyond their own internal use. There should be some rights for the individual subscriber that this data cannot be used outside of their own internal use."
– Tony Passwater, chairman of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) Data Privacy Committee, saying shops have little control over the use of their shop estimate data, given the terms offered by the major estimating system providers.
"Research of the color code and existing variations provided by the refinish manufacturer, and blending of the color coat are both recommended operations to perform an acceptable match. If the refinish technician determines that the color variance requires adjustment, it is a consistent recommendation to tint to a blendable match. When tinting is necessary for color adjustment, it is always done in conjunction with blending."
– The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS), summarizing the findings of its research into whether the paint manufacturers consider tinting and blending as necessary procedures commonly performed in conjunction with each other.
"A voluntary standard has shops nervous. If I'm a shop investing and doing what's necessary to meet that standard, but I have carriers pushing work away from my business because the standard costs more, that's not beneficial for the repair industry, and it's certainly not beneficial for the consumer."
– Aaron Schulenburg, SCRS’ executive director, commenting last spring on efforts to create formalized repair standards, and noting that shops continue to find insurer resistance to acknowledging that OEM repair recommendations are the standard.
"Investigating policyholders is not a function of the Insurance Department.”
– Newly-elected Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak, as he reorganized the department's anti-fraud division to focus on investigating insurance company fraud against consumers, rather than consumer fraud against insurers.
"Regardless of whether there might be a variance of particular quality relating to a particular part, or in the composition or the weight of that part, you'll find from our presentation that it makes absolutely no difference in terms of the deployment of the airbag or injury to the occupant of the vehicle.”
– Eileen Sottile of the Auto Body Parts Association (ABPA), which represents manufacturers and distributors of non-OEM parts, saying its crash-testing of non-OEM structural parts indicated the parts do not affect safety.
"Maybe we should get you in touch with our engineers."
– Paul Massey of Ford Motor Company, in response to the ABPA presentation, reiterating that his company’s testing convinced Ford engineers that the use of the non-OEM structural parts "will increase the likelihood of airbags deploying when they shouldn't."
"We don't have enough information and data to answer that question, and I think it's a fair question. There may very well be some small changes."
– Peter Byrne of Injurytek, an engineering consulting firm specializing in auto part analysis and occupant injury simulation, when asked if using multiple non-OEM structural parts – rather than just one as was done in his company’s testing – could result in more deviation in crash performance.
"No matter what political ideology, most can agree that insurance companies should play by the same rules as virtually every other industry in America."
– Rep. Peter DeFazio (D.-Ore.), as he reintroduced proposed federal legislation to partially repeal the McCarran-Ferguson exemption from antitrust regulations for insurers.
"But as I've said before, we're all-in and too close to quit now and will continue until we either prevail or exhaust all opportunities to do so."
– Florida shop owner Ray Gunder last July as he appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court a lower court's decision dismissing his slander and tortious interference suit against State Farm.
"Supplier choice and decisions regarding which parts are best suited for the individual repair will remain in your hands.”
– State Farm’s Gregg McDonald, in a video last spring announcing that the insurer was developing a new electronic parts ordering system for its Select Service shops.
"Compliance with these items remains a core requirement for your participation in Allstate's direct repair program."
– Tracy Tramm, Allstate claim service manager, in a video notifying its direct repair shops that they must now upload an estimate to Allstate within 24 hours of receipt of the vehicle, provide the customer with a guaranteed delivery date and assume all costs after that date if not met, and extend hours of operation to meet customers' reasonable requests for drop-off or pick-up of vehicles.
"If you do not require training of those shops that are doing repairs for you, you need to consider the rapid changes (in vehicle design and materials). You cannot properly repair a new car accidentally any more. You just can't do it."
– I-CAR’s Jeff Peevy, urging insurers to require their DRP shops to maintain the Gold Class designation, and saying 69 percent of shops have no consistent training for technicians.
"But it was important for me because this industry has a problem with who runs the business. The name on my building is Joe Pastorek's Body Shop. It doesn't say Nationwide Body Shop. I'll set my prices based on my expenses, and my ability to make a profit, and I won't compromise on those prices for anyone."
– Ohio shop owner Joe Pastorek, acknowledging that winning two suits against Nationwide for a total of about $1,000 in unpaid charges for repairs cost him about “10 times” that amount in court and legal fees.
"Given this collective lack of transparency, it is hardly surprising that several large national companies have started to hollow out their coverage and embrace aggressive claims handling strategies."
– Daniel Schwarcz, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, telling a U.S. Senate panel considering new insurance regulations that most states have done a "remarkably poor job" of promoting transparent markets that would help consumers make informed decisions about property-casualty insurance, and let watchdogs identify problems.
"Progressive's decision not to pursue an appeal is proof that the case was decided correctly, and I am sure that Progressive wanted to avoid another loss in the courts."
– Attorney Anthony Mamo, following Progressive Insurance’s decision not to appeal a New York court's ruling that the insurer failed to prove North State Custom and its owner Greg Coccaro committed fraud against Progressive.
"Right now they're just collecting those and we're laying the groundwork.”
– James Brown of the Houston Auto Body Association, saying that group is urging shops to notify state insurance regulators if an insurer is unwilling to pay the shop's posted labor rate by taking a photo of the posted rate and emailing it along with the estimate at the lower rate to the Texas Department of Insurance.
"If you've done some work for them in the past, and the adjuster comes out and fights you on everything, it's not going to get better just because you sign a direct repair agreement.”
– Michigan attorney Andrew Rodenhouse, saying that shops considering a DRP agreement should think about their previous experience working with that insurer.
“Under Illinois law, to reverse a case at the (state) Supreme Court level, you must have a minimum of four Justices. There was already one judge who had recused himself, and so the decision on the important issues, the issue whether to reverse, came down to a 4-2 vote. If you take out Karmeier, the decision stands. So it’s going to be really interesting to see what the Illinois Supreme Court does because they’re under a microscope.”
– Ohio attorney Erica Eversman, describing the latest legal effort to get the Illinois Supreme Court to review its 2005 decision throwing out a $1 billion judgment against State Farm related to its use of non-OEM parts. Plaintiffs attorneys argue Justice Lloyd Karmeier, who voted in favor of State Farm, should have recused himself from the case because of what they say was the level of the insurer’s backing of Karmeier’s election campaign.
"I think in collision repair, the primary customer is insurance, and if you don't exceed their expectations, you will not be rewarded with growth. The secondary customer is the traditional retail customer. I think it's true that you don't have to exceed their expectations; you just have to satisfy them. That's what we're rewarded on by the primary customer, the insurance companies, whether we have satisfied those customers and given them great service."
– Cathy Bonner, president of the 47-shop Service King collision repair chain in Texas, saying there is some logic in a proposition, espoused by an insurer in the United Kingdom, that businesses often "trip over themselves" trying to exceed customer expectations when they would be better off just ensuring that they consistently meet those expectations every time.
"Future generation safety systems will eliminate the crash altogether by interceding on behalf of drivers before they're even aware of a hazardous situation."
– Alan Taub, the head of General Motor’s global research
"Roger Cada (of State Farm) and I were standing at the American Iron and Steel Institute conference talking to one of the top steel engineers from one of the largest steel manufacturers in the world. Roger asked him, 'From your research, what's going to happen to some of these new steels if we heat them or we weld it incorrectly. Will there just be a little more intrusion (in a subsequent accident) or a minor change in airbag timing?' And the guy said, 'No, from our research it's catastrophic failure.'"
– Bob Keith, CARSTAR's director of training and education
“If you look at the insurance (process), typically you get an appraisal inspection, someone hands you a check, and you’re done. We’re starting to toy with the idea of whether post-repair inspections makes sense… I think it opens another dimension in terms of what you can bring the customer.… I think customers are demanding more from that (insurance claim) transaction, and I think we’re going to be charged with finding ways to provide that. Post-repair inspections are something that J.D. Powers highly recommends. Not a lot of folks are doing it. It’s time-intensive. It’s expensive. But the customer has an expectation that it adds value to their insurance and repair transaction.”
– Allstate’s Randy Hanson
"You don't know that one day you'll be called upon to do the right thing at the right moment, but when the time comes, if you have your heart open, you will know exactly what to do.”
– Jordan Hendler, executive director of the Washington (D.C.) Metropolitan Auto Body Association, who last January helped prevent a teenage girl from jumping off an I-95 freeway overpass in a suicide attempt.
Every year, CRASH editors assemble a compilation of some of the most memorable, important, interesting or enlightening quotes heard in the industry during the past 12 months. Read more quotes from years past.