Insurers Must Keep Customers Well Informed About the Repair Process

Autosphere » Collision » Insurers Must Keep Customers Well Informed About the Repair Process
Michel Bourbeau is Executive Chairman of the Corporation des carrossiers professionnels du Québec. Photo Archives Autosphere

When consumers are involved in a collision, they expect their insurer to take care of them and give them all the information they need to quickly erase this bad memory.

I’m talking about this subject today, which seems obvious in the light of the many comments we receive from our collision shop owners. The latter routinely receive motorists who turn up at their door with expectations that have nothing to do with reality.

Uninformed about the terms of their insurance contract, they expect repair times and conditions that bear no relation to the reality our workshops are currently experiencing. Insurance company claims investigators, the ones who receive the often alarmed calls from customers in a state of shock or at least troubled by this unpleasant situation, don’t seem to be giving their customers the straight goods. The operation has to move quickly, and often these first responders don’t have the necessary training to keep the customer properly informed.

Unrealistic expectations

This situation means that consumers still too often arrive at the workshop without an appointment, with unrealistic expectations: An estimate in 15 minutes, a replacement car free of charge for the duration of the work, even if it takes longer for reasons beyond our control, the exclusive use of original parts even on an ageing vehicle, or delivery within the next few weeks.

With labour shortages, longer and more complex repair processes and missing replacement parts, it’s impossible to meet customer expectations.

The ensuing customer frustration, which is entirely understandable, must be managed by the collision shop owner, who must provide information about the repair context, which should have been done from the outset, during the first contact with the insurer.

The collision shop owner is not a substitute for the insurer. We understand that our workshops are, in consumers’ minds, like an extension of their cover agreement. However, our role is not to manage the customer’s expectations, our role is to repair cars to the highest standards, in the shortest possible time.

Faced with this situation, which has persisted for several years now, the CCPQ took the initiative of sending a letter to the heads of the major insurance networks in Quebec, reminding them of the basics of the tripartite relationship between policyholders, collision shop owners and insurance companies.

All our collision shops are dedicated to ensuring that the customers who come to them receive a courteous and professional service. We expect the same commitment from our insurance partners.


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