I-CAR last month engaged its insurance Industry Segment Advisory Council with the goal of making their training for carriers more relevant to modern vehicles.
“We are going to change that program as well,” I-CAR sales and marketing Senior Vice President Nick Notte told a Society of Collision Repair Specialists webinar Wednesday (see replay).
Notte discussed the issue in response to a question about the perceived lack of knowledge demonstrated at the ground level by adjusters.
He said I-CAR also has engaged its education advisory council with an eye toward more “PDP evolution” there as well.
I-CAR had heard feedback about the difference in insurer and repairer requirements, and it plans to bring in its collision repair advisory council to help with the insurance training revamp, Notte said.
Notte said I-CAR would like to see an insurance program that somewhat “mirrors or complements” collision.
Shops and technicians must receive more frequent welding recertification and achieve tougher Platinum and Gold Class requirements under the overhaul.
Shops must have a larger percentage of role representatives — 100 percent of structural techs and half of all estimators, nonstructural technicians and refinishers — meeting a minimum of ProLevel 2 instead of what could theoretically be a single person counting as all four and having merely ProLevel 1. I-CAR CEO John Van Alstyne on Aug. 8 called ProLevel 2 the “minimally required skills” necessary to fix a car.
Platinum status can’t be achieved for a technician or estimator until the pinnacle ProLevel 3 instead of the ProLevel 1 allowed today. Continuing education on new vehicles will also be required.
“We’re working on it,” Notte said of the insurance revamp, and it hoped to finish that task more quickly than the “four-plus” years the auto body repair overhaul took.
The insurance Professional Development Program is similar to the existing auto body repair format in that Platinum status is achievable at ProLevel 1, and only six hours of continuing education is necessary after the adjuster hits ProLevel 3.
Like the body Gold Class requirements before this month’s changes, the insurer Gold Class requirements also could stand to gain more rigor.
An insurance carrier currently can call itself I-CAR Gold Class if 60 percent of its adjusters reach ProLevel 1. After a year, 80 percent of staff must be ProLevel 1 and 50 percent of the staff must be at ProLevel 2. But by Year 3, while 40 percent of staff must be ProLevel 3, I-CAR will keep the requirement for the staff as a whole at 80 percent ProLevel 1 (or ProLevel 2, I-CAR states).
“Insurance Gold Class program was developed with industry input and flexibly to accommodate employee turnover and helps align Gold Class requirements with individual employee tasks and career development,” I-CAR stated of the current program. “Fewer appraiser staff members are required to achieve I-CAR ProLevel 2 and ProLevel 3; a greater number of appraiser staff will achieve ProLevel 1.”
According to I-CAR, an insurer at ProLevel 1 must:
• Understand your organization’s policies and processes for writing damage reports
• Write a complete and accurate damage analysis report for front, side, and rear impact damage on drivable vehicles
• Work safely around hybrid vehicles
• Analyze damage to restraint systems
• Understand the automotive refinish process
• Diagnose simple electrical damage
• Analyze damage to advanced materials
• Identify potential fraud indicators
• Identify subrogation issues
• Hail, theft, and vandalism damage (Minor formatting edits.)
Total losses, glass, non-driveable vehicles and advanced safety and electrical/mechanical systems don’t show up until ProLevel 2, which would seem to suggest ProLevel 2 for insurers might be the minimum necessary to write a car as well.
By ProLevel 3, an insurer must be able to do a teardown for full damage analysis, analyze advanced steering and suspension damage, do a post-repair inspection and even investigate a crash scene.
Top 8 Gold Class insurers include State Farm, Allstate, USAA and Nationwide. GEICO’s training center and review team are also Gold Class, but not the entire organization.
As for other industry segments, Notte was also asked about heavy-duty trucks and fleet collision training. He called the segment “near and dear to my heart” and something he’s in the past asked Van Alstyne to offer.
I-CAR has partnered with some in that sector, said Notte, who noted I-CAR’s auto materials training is relevant for the heavy-duty market. (Lightweighting might be even more crucial in trucking, for fuel is such a gigantic expense.)
Notte said heavy-duty technicians who have taken I-CAR courses have “really responded” to them, and demand is growing for I-CAR heavy-duty curriculum.
He said that desire has likely reached the point where I-CAR will either have to designate a separate heavy-duty segment or dial back and not offer it at all until resources are available.
SCRS-I-CAR, Aug. 23, 2018
The I-CAR booth at NACE 2018 is shown. (John Huetter/Repairer Driven News)
After Dec. 31, 2018, a non-Gold Class shop seeking that credential must have at least 100 percent of structural technicians reaching ProLevel 2, instead of the ProLevel 1 permitted under the old criteria. Half of the employees within each of the three other key role categories (Estimator, Non-Structural Technician, Steel Structural Technician, Refinish Technician) at the shop must also reach ProLevel 2. (Provided by I-CAR)