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Make sure an insurer's direct repair program is right for your business

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 - 08:00
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If your shop participates in two or more direct repair programs, you already know that no two programs are exactly alike. Every one comes with its own set of requirements, and we’ve found some are far more labor intensive or high maintenance than others.

Some insurers, for example, have very few adjusters in our state, and we may go months or even longer without seeing them. Others haven’t at all reduced the number of adjusters they are using, and they seem to have their hands in every aspect of the repair.

That’s why finding the right mix of the right programs is both challenging and important. Just because one program might bring you a lot of work, it may not be a good fit. You can have some of the higher-maintenance programs, for example, but too many of them can break you.

We tend to assign each program to a particular team. It helps that team specialize in that program. We also try to ensure each team has a good mix of high- and low-maintenance programs.

We also prefer to have the same programs at all of our locations, though we haven’t achieved that 100 percent. Some companies have rules on how many shops are on the program in an area, for example, or may already have a shop on the program in that part of town that is performing well for them.

But the primary message I want to convey here is this: If you’ve ever wondered if you’ve stuck too long with a program that doesn’t seem to be a good fit for your business, you probably have.

Back in 2011, we were in a program that was such a bad fit that I’d reached the point of actually wanting out of this industry. No joke, I genuinely would have given my shops away. I’m sharing this story because I suspect some of you may have reached that point at times – you may even be there right now – so I want you to know you can make the changes you need, as I have, to improve your business and reinvigorate your enthusiasm for it.

First, what was it about the program that led to my frustration and sleepless nights? A big part of it was the constant threats. Every day I wondered which matrix they would cite in a morning email, warning “If this isn’t fixed, you’re off the program. And remember, we are $X million of your business.”

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