What adjusters need to know about collision repair
Inside the ABC Companies Annual Collision Workshop, Winter Garden, FL
Understanding the crippling effect a collision has on an operator is just as important to the insurance claims adjuster who routinely assesses the damages as it is to the mechanics and body repairmen who make the repairs.
For that reason ABC Companies has hosted its annual Collision Workshop for the past 12 years. For two days in March the ABC Companies Collision Repair Center in Winter Garden, FL converts to a classroom, workshop and conference center to bring members of the insurance industry, safety officers and heavy equipment specialists up to speed on the most current motorcoach accident and repair scenarios. The presentations cover the consequences and damages to buses and coaches stem to stern, inside and out, while invited transportation and safety professionals offer instruction and advice relative to risk management.
“The goal of the workshop is to inform these professionals of the continual improvements, upgrades and innovations to motorcoaches,” says Greg Dotseth, operations manager for the service center in Faribault, MN. “They attend in order to be knowledgeable and better prepared to make the most accurate assessment of damages incurred in any type of accident. Because of the risks and value at stake, ABC Companies sponsors this workshop as a service to the industry.”
The company invites guest speakers from companies and agencies in the industry with relevance to collision, maintenance and risk management. Operations managers and key technicians from each of the five ABC Companies service centers in Minnesota, Florida, New Jersey, Texas and California preside over the workshop agenda, serving several multiple maintenance and repair functions in one setting.
According to Ed Harmon, ABC Companies national director of operations, the annual workshop includes segments that qualify as accredited training programs that allow industry professionals to meet their continuing education requirements.
“Many insurance companies won’t sponsor a person to attend unless it offers accredited sessions,” he says. “We also structure this workshop to provide excellent networking opportunities for this industry group.”
The 2011 workshop and conference focused almost entirely on the processes and value associated with bus and coach refurbishment.
Adjusters like Eldon Boone, who operates his claims service in Omaha, NE, say the information proves invaluable in providing fair and accurate estimates for both the insurance companies and motorcoach operators.
In addition to the group of insurance adjusters, Harmon says the guest list this year also included members of transit agencies wanting more information on the refurbishment process.
Because of the work going on in Nappanee, IN, refurbishing and upgrading 250 motorcoaches in phase one of the Greyhound fleet revitalization Program, ABC Companies felt it imperative to bring the group of adjusters up to speed on this relatively new focus in bus and coach maintenance. Lee Loper, ABC Companies, senior vice president, Mideast region, spoke on the Greyhound program and its relevance to collision repair. Harmon outlined the similar program for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC), Woodbridge, VA, where ABC Companies is refurbishing 61 MCI D4500s in lieu of vehicle replacement.
Harmon says for this group to see and understand what a specific repair process actually entails in terms of parts and labor, help an adjuster break down estimates in greater detail He says insurance companies get nervous over large estimates in which nothing is listed except the total time and estimated cost.
This year the hands-on demonstrations by ABC Companies collision technicians covered window removal and replacement, as well as a presentation by James Johnson of IMMI, who spoke on the three-point seatbelts and the necessary reinforcement to the floor structure.
“The adjusters get to see precisely the materials, special skills and time involved in making a particular repair,” says Harmon. “They come away with a clearer picture of how much more collision repair entails than just replacing parts.”
R is for Refurbishment
A 10-year old Van Hool C2045R with close to one million miles was on hand for the group to inspect. The R stands for Refurbishment and clearly designates the upgrade to meet new coach safety standards and appearance. This refurbishment effort also maintains and even elevates the value of the older vehicle and ensures all the work has satisfied all requirements for its safe and compliant operation. BR