AirPro on Wednesday announced the “FieldPro,” a smartphone-and-dongle combination allowing insurance adjusters a quick, preliminary scan of a vehicle.
The system hooks into the OBD-II port and performs a “very, very fast” scan of the vehicle using OEM-sourced software, AirPro operations executive director Chuck Olsen said Wednesday. If nothing is found, the scan is free. The detection of codes in the modules prompts a report by AirPro’s “uniquely skilled, ASE certified technicians,” according to a news release.
“Referencing OEM service information, a cost estimate and description of any needed or required diagnostics, calibrations or safety system programming services are highlighted in a report immediately sent to the field appraiser for a more accurate and reliable appraisal,” AirPro wrote. “A permanent copy of the data and report is accessible and retained by APD in its cloud-based ORION management system for future access.”
Olsen explained that the assessment is not a series of estimate line items and potential charges, nor does it attempt to calculate what the shop’s own repair costs for performing diagnostics, programming or calibration on the physical vehicle should be. Instead, it confirms to the insurer that such operations will be necessary and offers an estimate of what AirPro’s bill will be for its experts helping the shop through those processes, he said.
The FieldPro scan is also not intended to be a substitute for a pre-scan using the traditional AirPro “big box” device when trouble is found, according to Olsen. The adjuster’s FieldPro scan would merely confirm that issues exist in the vehicle. The repairer would still need to perform a full diagnostic check prior to the repair to understand the problems and determine how to solve them, he said.
The FieldPro also relies on the OEM scan tool information automakers share with aftermarket manufacturers and update in periodic rereleases. The AirPro “big box” pulls the most current source code directly from the OEM, as is also possible under “Right to Repair.” The latter method delivers the up-to-the-minute information and bug fixes one would find on an OEM scan tool, while the former means the FieldPro user might have to wait for new models or code changes until an OEM releases the next update for third-party licensees. (However, Olsen said some OEMs are shortening the time between updates, and one had even released to the aftermarket data for 2019 models not even on sale yet.)
Olsen said ‘I do have some concerns” that insurers will attempt to treat the FieldPro scan as an actual pre-scan and refuse shops who are doing the comprehensive scan. However, “I think the data is going to speak for itself,” he said. The report will even state that “yes, you need a big box pre-scan,” he said.
The system is not a substitute for a post-repair scan either, Olsen said. It’s not possible for even a master technician to complete all of the post-repair operations using the FieldPro, he said. The device offers “one-way scanning” and simply a method to “get the data out of the car,” he said.
The idea is to head off the squabbling between an insurer and repairer on whether diagnostics and calibrations are necessary by confirming their need prior to the vehicle reaching the shop. The shop has the “full go-ahead” from the start, Olsen said.
“‘I don’t have to stop. I don’t have to ask for approval,'” Olsen said in a statement. “… That’s a big positive for the shops.”
The FieldPro also could be a check on unethical shops scanning a car and charging an insurer but not doing anything about the issues they find, Olsen said. Another benefit could be an insurer’s ability to alert shops who haven’t kept up with the times that scanning definitely needs to be done on the customer’s vehicle. (Sad as this may seem, CCC data still indicates an alarming lack of the work on estimates.)
“After thorough investigation and development, we are proud to introduce this valuable mobile solution to the insurance and repair community,” AirPro CEO Lonnie Margol said in a statement. “Significant savings in time and money will result from delivery of a scan report complete with estimated scan and calibration costs in the field to an adjuster. Downstream appraisal supplements were identified as a significant cost that reimbursing insurers want to identify earlier. Collision shops will take comfort in receiving a pre-approved, OEM required, pre-repair scan report, complete with necessary calibration and post-repair scan procedures, at the time of receipt of the estimate. Insurers and repairers will benefit from huge efficiencies and hopefully end the debate on what might be needed on a repair. FieldPro helps meet our mission to remove waste and increase efficiency in the scan, programming and safety system calibrations arena.” (Emphasis AirPro’s.)
Olsen suggested that a FieldPro scan free of anything except a driver-induced code could keep a shop from having to pre-scan the vehicle with the “big box.” The scans would be the same, he said. However, if the appraiser finishes their estimate, uploads their scan results and the driver drives around for another couple of weeks, it was possible the shop would need to rescan the vehicle, he said.
Body shops can also use the FieldPro as a quick assessment tool, and Margol said “it’s in the field” with a large repairer today.
AirPro, July 11, 2018
AirPro on Wednesday announced the “FieldPro,” a smartphone-and-dongle combination allowing insurance adjusters the ability to do a quick scan. (Provided by AirPro)
The AirPro “big box” scan tool is seen at SEMA 2017. (John Huetter/Repairer Driven News)
The AirPro FieldPro scan is also not intended to be a substitute for a pre-scan using the traditional AirPro “big box” device when trouble is found, according to an AirPro executive. The adjuster’s scan would merely confirm that issues exist in the vehicle. The repairer would still need to perform a full diagnostic check prior to the repair to understand the problems and determine how to solve them, according to AirPro. (Provided by AirPro)