Certificate of OEM repair standards now available through insurance agents
Some collision shop owners can now achieve manufacturer certification while others will struggle to distinguish between certified and non-certified qualifications, says industry consultant Steven E. Schillinger.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has adopted OEM position statements and changed the way shop owners achieve collision repair credentials. As vehicle complexity has increased in the last decade, diagnostic procedures and repair obligations continue to grow. Fortunately, he said, there is a program tailored for shop owners and dealers seeking assistance.
How does it work?
To establish credentials, a Certificate of Documents (OECert) is available through state-licensed insurance agents. Shop owners and operators who meet certain credit, OEM and regulatory requirements, can qualify for a certificate. If the insurance company determines that a shop qualifies for manufacturer requirements, an OECert performance bond is issued.
“An Insured Performance Program is a blessing to shop owners and operators,” Schillinger said, “because the OECert verification requirements are considerably easier than those found in the current Garagekeepers insurance marketplace.”
Since the John Eagle collision center lawsuit, many manufacturers and insurance carriers are reviving regulatory obligations under a decade-old law known as the HAPs 6H Rule, which will expose business owners who don’t provide proper training and mandatory registration, he said.
The confidential, compliance assistance role of the Small Business Environmental Assistance Programs (SBEAPs) enable staff to work closely with individual business owners and trade associations.
Most insurance carriers are slow to respond to collision industry obligations, Schillinger said, which is largely due to document requirements created by OSHA, EPA, NFPA and, recently, vehicle manufacturers.
Thorson Insurance has developed an internet-based program. Agents and carriers in the OECert program use the program to upload information and forms instantly. The program launched in Arizona, Michagan, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah, and has proven to increase efficiency, resulting in a quick and responsive process. The typical time for approval is three to five business days. As example, PrimeOne Insurance, based in Utah, can respond within 24 hours and is even able to respond the same day if necessary, according to Schillinger.
Benefits of an Annual Performance Bond
Many collision shop owners struggle with the issue of vehicle manufacture certification. Obtaining essential permits, license, and financial information from a shop owner takes considerable time and can be somewhat overwhelming, he added, noting that it may even be cost-prohibitive unless the shop can spread the cost over several manufacturers, i.e., GM, Ford, FCA, etc. Under the OECert Program, a certified shop can do significant repair work while they seek out and form a relationship with an automobile manufacturer and/or dealer.
A shop that may have modest ability to certify their work, can exponentially increase their capacity. The OECert Program enables a collision repair shop owner to take their business to the next level of expansion and in a relatively short period of time.