Maintaining the right certifications, licensing and permitting can be a challenge for body and mechanical repair shops, particularly smaller MSOs and independents, as regulations increase both in number and complexity.
Compliance records service provider RecsLock has teamed up with the Independent Automotive Damage Appraisers (IADA) Association to help shops ensure they are up-to-date on permitting, but at a lower cost (and with less labor) than managing the entire process themselves.
The new Government Agency Synchronized via Compliance Appraisers Permit Picture (GAS CAPP) insurance program will use cloud-based software to produce status reports and alert owners of any problems that could delay or impede the permitting or certification process. RecsLock executive director Steve Schillinger compares GAS CAPP to AFLAC – it’s another level of coverage that can help shops maintain compliance without spending a lot of time on administrative tasks they won’t be reimbursed for.
The GAS CAPP program offers a variety of different coverages that can help shops recover if there is a business interruption or fine related to permitting or compliance issues. The coverage can also reimburse for unexpected expenses related to inspections or ticketing (like lab testing).
Staying on top of permitting is increasingly important as regulators are consolidating operations in different states and using data mining technology to determine which businesses may be out of compliance.
“It’s difficult for shop owners to know what requires permits, or which permits need renewed,” Schillinger says.
For shops that sign up for the coverage, the members of IADA will conduct on-site audits as part of their regular visits to the shops to help identify any permitting problems or compliance issues.
Shops will be able to pull data online from an existing database to improve the efficiency of the permitting process. "It also enables shops to concurrently review reporting conditions by all of the necessary departments involved, including human resources, the parts department and the paint department, for example,” Schillinger says. “But, one of the main advantages of this program is that shop professionals can now submit plans, reports and fulfillment online."
"It just makes sense for our members to act as verifiers, because they're working in these body shops every day" says Dennis O'Mahoney, executive vice president of IADA. "In fact, our members perform roughly 500,000 auto damage appraisals annually on average. The shop owners already know us, and our members have established long-term relationships with many of them, so being involved in this type of program is a natural fit."
IADA appraisers will be assigned to document and verify that nearby shops have current permits and documentation, including taking photos and and creating a documentation inventory.
As a validating source, IADA will provide documentation to the shops so they know exactly where they stand with their permits, licenses and certifications. "Most well-established shops are already in full compliance all the time, so in those cases it will simply be a matter of taking photos and validating what's there," O'Mahoney said. "Many organizations want to know, including the insurance companies, OEs, owner's groups and MSOs, to name a few, that shops have the proper permit or compliance documentation necessary to serve the customer."
According to Schillinger, shops can benefit through reduced permitting time, improved record keeping, enhanced communication with authorities, and employee efficiency.