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Small business help for collision shop owners

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - 07:00
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Hard as is to believe, collision shop owners may soon be thanking government for reviving an outdated regulation. Some shop owners can now achieve valuable manufacturer certification while others will struggle to distinguish between certified and non-certified qualifications.                                                              

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 seem to be mounting on a monthly basis. Fortunately, there is a program tailored for shop owners and dealers seeking assistance.

How Does It Work?
To establish credentials, a Certificate of Documents, aka 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 the shop qualifies for manufacturer requirements, an OECert performance bond is issued.

“An Insured Performance Program is a blessing to shop owners and operators,” stated consultant Steven E. Schillinger, “because the OECert verification requirements are considerably easier than those found in the current Garagekeepers insurance marketplace.”

Regulatory Assistance
After escaping negligence in 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 that will expose business owners that don’t provide proper training and mandatory registration.

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. They have developed industry-specific training and guidance materials and are happy to share knowledge. “Many of my clients employ family members and live in the community where their business is located,” said the North Carolina Small Business Ombudsman, Tony Pendola. “Even though most autobody shops can be exempted from the 6H Rule, they are always doing some of and interested in doing more of the best management practices laid out in the rule. The last thing they want to do is emit unhealthy levels of pollutants and we specialize in helping to guide them.”

Certificate Qualification
Most insurance carriers are slow to respond to collision industry obligations. This 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 AZ, MI, NM, NV and UT has proven to increase efficiency, resulting in a quick and responsive process. The typical time for approval is 3 to 5 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.

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. 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.

Click here to see the Certificate of Documents — Automotive Repair.

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