ALIVE WITH IDEAS: New approaches to industry challenges at IBIS Connect Africa

By Allison Rogers

For decades, key members of the collision industry have developed solutions to shared industry challenges at industry conferences. Perhaps the highest-profile of these conferences have been at the International Bodyshop Industry Symposium events, which attract industry legends from across different continents.

In 2020, however, the coronavirus pandemic put a wrench in the machines. With it impossible for industry leaders from around the world to travel to meet one another, the organizers were forced to bring the summits online.

In July, IBIS launched its all-new digital conference platform, IBISConnect. IBISConnect Africa was the first-ever conference to be hosted on the platform and had a schedule chock-full of presentations and intriguing new networking opportunities through customized chat rooms, video coffee breaks, a digital exposition hall and much more.

“We wanted to create a truly interactive and immersive experience,” said Jason Moseley, IBIS CEO. “We’ve included a networking chat room, where you can speak with our sponsors and schedule meetings, or chat amongst other attendees in public or private settings.”

The broadcast also boasted features like live polling and an open question-and-answer chat, where attendees could anonymously review speaker presentations.

This year’s theme was ‘Strength through Collaboration’ and covered the many ways the industry can find inspiration through industry relationships.

Tom Avon, a procurement officer responsible for Admiral Insurance’s repair performance and strategy embodied this theme in his presentation on insurer-repairer relationships through intelligent repair routing strategies. Avon said, at its core, intelligent repair routing is about moving away from the traditional “one-size-fits-all” approach currently present throughout much of the industry.

“Fundamentally, it’s about listening to customers and understanding their needs. Customers always expect a unique experience, and a collision claim is a very stressful time that they will rarely face. Giving them that experience, one that makes them feel heard and makes them believe they made the right choice with their insurer, leaves them walking away from the bodyshop knowing they had their vehicle repaired by experts.”

Avon said the U.K.-based insurer has witnessed several benefits to smart routed repair strategies, namely lower cycle-times and better reviews among customers.

“If we are able to segment the way we do repairs and send customers to the most appropriate place to receive their repairs, we often see reduced cycle times for our customers. They’ll get their cars back quicker, which gives them higher confidence in the repair and improved customer service.”

Understandably, some repairers in the IBIS audience were concerned about the strategy eliminating customer choice in their repair facility—but Avon said that is not the goal.

“The customer should always have the ability to choose and be informed about the repairer they are going to,” said Avon. “Some are very informed, but others need a lot of hand-holding—they don’t really understand the repairs their vehicle needs—and need to a little more leading. I believe customer choice is always paramount, and I think insurers will continue to work with bodyshops to ensure customers are sent to the right facility.”

IBIS CEO Jason Moseley followed up on these concerns, asking Avon if Admiral Insurance uses tiering in its intelligent repair routing practices.

“There are different ways of doing it, and insurers would approach it differently than a network company or manager,” he said. “There’s always the goal of supporting repairers and helping them support their volumes, so when I look at tiering, I’m always considering that.”

Insurer-repairer relations were a big topic throughout the IBISConnect Africa broadcast, with Moseley proposing the ultimate question to Graeme Reid, programme executive for Lightstone Systems,

“That’s the million-dollar question,” said Reid. “I think every MRP and insurer in the industry would like to see that.”

For more information on upcoming IBISConnect events, visit ibisworldwide.com.

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