Inside ABC Companies' annual Collision Workshop

Insurance adjusters join in the loop on bus and motorcoach collision repair
By David Hubbard

A bus collision triggers rings of after-affects that put a host of professions in play. Understanding the crippling effect a collision has on an operator is as important to insurance claims adjusters who routinely assess the damages as the mechanics and body repair technicians who make the repairs.

For that reason, each year in the spring, ABC Companies hosts its annual Collision Workshop in Winter Garden, FL. The select group of attendees includes members of the automotive insurance industry, claims adjustors and insurance company representatives.

The maintenance and repair center converts to a conference room to bring this industry sector up to speed on the most current motorcoach accident and repair scenarios.

“Our workshop has grown into an event where they can convene and share their own ideas and current developments within their industry,” says Lee Loper, ABC Companies senior vice president, Midwest Region. “We offer a well- rounded agenda and the workshop is always well received.”

Presentations by guest speakers with relevance to heavy-duty collision, vehicle maintenance, accident investigation and risk management provide sage advice the damages and consequences unique to buses and motorcoaches stem to stern, inside and out.

ABC Companies Collision Workshop attendees get an up close look at one the few motorcoach frame-straightening operations in North America.

For example, one year a senior accident investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board spoke on the findings in a high-profile bus fire. Another guest speaker reviewed safety and loss in a presentation on understanding risk issues and why accurate data analysis is crucial to a sound business decision. A fire investigator spoke further on origins and causes of bus and coach fires.

“The goal of the workshop is to help insurance professionals be more knowledgeable and better prepared to make the most accurate assessment of damages incurred in any type of accident,” says Greg Dotseth, operations manager for the ABC Companies Service Center in Faribault, MN. “Because of the risks and value at stake, ABC Companies sponsors this workshop as a service to the industry.”

Operations managers from each of the five ABC Companies service centers in Minnesota, Florida, New Jersey, Texas and California preside over the workshop agenda.

“This workshop also provides excellent networking opportunities for this industry group,” says Eldon Boone, a veteran claims adjuster based in Omaha, NE. “The information proves invaluable in providing fair and accurate estimates for both the insurance companies and motorcoach operators. I can’t think of a better orientation to see what goes into repairing and maintaining a motorcoach.”

For this group to see and understand what a specific repair process actually entails in terms of parts and labor.

“Adjusters get to see precisely what processes and special skills are involved in making a particular repair,” says Joe Labrozzi, physical damage specialist-examiner, National Interstate Insurance, Sarasota, FL. “It’s important for an adjuster to understand precisely what more is involved in collision repair than just replacing parts.

Dotseth says the group of claims adjusters typically come away from the collision workshop with able to break down estimates in greater detail.

“The insurance companies I represent appreciate my being able to see what a specific repair process actually entails in terms of parts and labor,” says Gregory Tuttle, president, Heritage Claim Service, Inc., Minneapolis, MN. “Insurance companies can get a little nervous over large estimates in which nothing is listed except the total time and estimated cost.”

The 2012 Collision Workshop showcased the extensive bus and motorcoach refurbishment program ABC Companies has initiated to extend vehicle life and lower operating costs for operators.

A 10-year old Van Hool C2045R with close to one million miles was on hand for the group to inspect. The R-designation 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