National AutoBody Research (NABR) first launched the Variable Rate Survey to provide the Collision Industry with a valid method of determining a truly fair and reasonable labor rate based on such things like the location of the shop, the type of vehicle being worked on, the shop’s investment in training, certifications and equipment and much more, rather than the one-size-fits-all artificially suppressed labor rate that has been dictated by the insurance industry for years.
Well, within a short period of time and even with a limited amount of shops participating, the results are already beginning to show. The AASP/NJ is one of the many associations or private individuals that have decided to put their trust in this concept and the massive efforts the people at NABR have made in an effort to make a difference in the collision industry across the country, and it is working. Although it is like pulling teeth to get the members of the industry to go to the survey and put their rates in (which is free by the way), slowly but surely, the industry is starting to get the message, and more and more shops are filling out the Variable Rate Survey. The more that fill out the survey, the higher the rates climb. I strongly believe that in the near future, the Variable Rate Survey will be the tool that makes it possible for collision shop to prove that the rates they are asking for are actually fair and reasonable.
But the more NABR got involved and the more they listened to the cries of the industry, the more they added to the system to solve the problems the collision industry is exposing to them. A prime example is what just happened. The people at NABR were being told by members of the collision industry that shops are constantly told by insurers such things as, “We don’t pay for that.” Then, when they speak to other shops in another area, those shops inform them that they have no problem getting paid for those same items or procedures by the same insurer.
Because of this, NABR has announced their coming launch of the Variable Rate System (VRS) Procedures Document Search – an online, searchable library of documents, showing which insurers are paying for non-included procedures and operations and which ones are just saying, “We don’t pay for that.” In other words, the VRS people are going to gather actual copies of documents showing who is paying for what items and procedures to some shops and not to others. What a brilliant idea. If you are tired of hearing an insurer say, “We don’t pay for that,” I strongly recommend that you read the attached Press Release about this new service being added to the Variable Rate Survey System. I also think it’s about time that the leaders in the industry start getting behind and supporting the people at the NABR who are working night and day in an effort to help the collision industry.
Charles Bryant, AASP/NJ Executive Director