Talking Shop with Our Auto Repair Insurance Executive
As a recognized leader in the automotive space, Program Executive David Willett has one goal for ProSight’s Auto Repair Program: to deliver specialized expertise in a way that no other insurance company is doing. How? By assembling a top-notch team of experts that sleeps, eats, and breathes all things automotive—not just from the insurance side, but from the industry side, as well. We got the chance to chat with Willett about the why’s, what’s, and how’s of getting an Auto Repair Program off the ground—and what makes ProSight’s program so unique in the industry.
Why a Dedicated Auto Repair Program Now?
“ProSight is dedicated to being specialized, whether it’s a line of business or vertical, and that’s really what the auto repair space needs today,” Willett explains.
Since ProSight already underwrites for auto, truck, and RV dealers, Willett sees it as a natural play to integrate auto repair companies into the mix—companies that include collision and mechanical repair shops, tire retail, electric vehicle (EV) repair, heavy duty repair, and quick service and lube shops.
“I don’t see anyone else as committed to the auto repair space as ProSight.”
“There is synergy back and forth between writing for dealers and repairers. Your claims can be set up to handle both since a lot of the same claims expertise is needed,” Willett explains. “If you’re an auto dealership, you don’t always have all the expertise to repair every car. A lot of times, dealers work with independent repairers. And if you’re an independent repairer, you sometimes subcontract the work to the dealership or buy parts from them, so there’s play back and forth between them.”
What Makes the Right Auto Repair Partner?
When insuring an auto repair shop, Willett says that, first and foremost, his team looks at how the shop is managed. Not only should the management champion stellar customer service—after all, the industry was formed to provide service during critical moments like accidents—they should also emphasize continual employee training.
“The companies that are willing to invest in training and new certifications like I-CAR Gold and ASE Master Certified, the ones that are diligent about having consultants come in and help them work on their business, those are the ones we’re looking for,” Willett says. “If they’re just doing the same thing over and over as technology keeps changing, they’re not going to be the ones that are functioning properly in the very near future.”
Throughout the auto industry, there’s a big push to do OEM repairs that adhere to the standards set up by Original Equipment Manufacturers (like the Fords, GMs, and Toyotas of the world). Of course, with each make and model, there are different standards and certifications to know—which seem to change almost as quickly as they come out. There are also additional safety standards to know. In addition to I-CAR and ASE, there are specific tire certifications, like CTS and ATS, administered by the Tire Industry Association.
“Mechanics no longer have the deep knowledge of having worked on a certain make or model before,” Willett explains. “They have to research the most up-to-date OEM repairs online before starting. And the truth of the matter is, if you repaired one vehicle in the morning and get the same one in the afternoon, they need to research it again because the repair guidelines may have changed by then.”
The advent of driver-assisted systems and computer-based technology, like radar sensors and cameras, only adds to the complexity. “That’s why we’re really hot on the fact that their engineers are staying up with technology as fast as they’re driving it,” Willett says.
Where are Auto Repair Exposures Lurking?
As automotive technology and repair guidelines change, one thing remains constant: the need to run a clean, quality auto repair shop. “If you’re doing high-end paint jobs on cars, I know you’re a great property risk because you can’t have any dirt or debris in your facility, or it will get into the paint.”
From a liability standpoint, the exposures get more layered. According to Willett, the fastest growing risk to auto repair shops today is making sure the proper repair gets done—which comes down to following OEM standards whenever possible. Unfortunately, auto repairers can find it difficult to get OEM buy-in from payers, especially from their customers’ insurance companies who may only want to cover what is “usual and customary” or less expensive aftermarket parts. That’s why it’s so important to have the right insurance company backing you up.
ProSight plays a vital role as Repair Order Advocate for its insureds, working on behalf of these shops to get OEM repairs covered for their customers. “People are entitled to have their cars fixed to the standards they had before,” Willett stresses. “OEM repairs not only reduce a shop’s liability, but they’re the best way to return the vehicle to operate as the manufacturer intended.”
Part of ProSight’s secret sauce as a Repair Order Advocate is having claims handlers who come straight from the auto industry. “We’ve got ASE Master Certified techs and I-CAR Platinum techs working for us. Basically, we’ve got people handling your claims who could work in your shop.”
“We’ve got people handling your claims who could work in your shop.”
Why is this so important? “You need somebody who can verify that the repair was done right, that everything was put back to the proper standard. We’re able to deny claims that are false, which saves our customers time and money.”
How is ProSight Leading the Auto Industry?
ProSight’s unique position combining both the automotive and insurance industries has given Willett and his team street cred as the recognized leaders for auto repairers. They sit on national automotive repair committees, speak at industry events like SEMA/CIC, and have given their perspective in featured industry articles and podcasts. They partner with multiple auto repair groups around the country, including SCRS, CIECA, and others.
“As an I-CAR sustaining partner, we’re actively involved with them in delivering their high-voltage training to the industry,” Willett says. “This is the next wave in German electrification standards that we’ll be bringing to automotive businesses throughout the country.”
As the auto industry accelerates into the future, ProSight is out in front, providing high-quality coverage and service to top-tier shops with one goal in mind: to help auto repairers navigate today’s challenges so they can provide the best experience to their customers.
“We’re the ones out there and embedded in the industry,” Willett says. “We have to be the ones leading where the industry is going.”
Have a question for David Willett? Reach out to him here.
—Written by the ProSight Team