News: Consolidator Report
Panel calls legislation a “mixed bag” with varying degrees of effectiveness.
At the July Collision Industry Conference (CIC), a panel of collision industry professionals was asked, “Are the laws and regulations governing the collision industry working?”
The panel was moderated by Steve Regan of Regan Strategies. Panel members included:
• Rick Tuuri, Audatex
• Randy Hansen, Allstate
• Darrell Amberson, Lamettry’s Collision
• Ron Reichen, Precision Auto Body & Paint
• Colette Bruce, Team Safety
• Janet Chaney, Montana Collision Repair Specialists
The general consensus was that success in the collision legislative realm was a mixed bag. “Yes and no” seemed to be the most common answer, including the one given by Amberson.
“Some of the laws are working, but conditions continue to change and we need to monitor what’s going on,” said Amberson. “We have a number of laws that frankly aren’t enforced. I’ve had the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C., through ASA’s Washington representative Bob Redding, and I found it very educational to meet with representatives of Congress and senators and to see that some days, there is a constant parade of groups going in and out of their offices representing their desires. And it reinforces the message how important it is for us to maintain our own representation there.”
Reichen of Precision Auto Body & Paint’s comments were more frank and to the point, addressing the gamesmanship that goes on in Washington to get laws passed.
“There are laws and regulations out there that seem to be pick and choose,” he said. “One of the biggest issues we have is that some of these laws are outdated, some should be sunsetted and others just need to be enforced. It’s unfortunate that certain lobby groups have the ability to put pressure on some laws, and it seems like those laws are the ones where a blind eye is turned. It depends what industry has the biggest portion of the ear at that point. So it’s a mixed bag. On the environmental side, a lot of the laws might be over the top, but other laws should be enforced that aren’t.”
Allstate’s Hansen brought up the fact that it’s hard to bring what’s talked about at CIC to legislators in an understandable format.
“It’s difficult to have conversations around legislative support when you’re trying to articulate to someone who is further away from the issue than anyone in this room what that is and how it can be best be attacked. That’s where I think we have a lot of work to do,” Hansen said.
Hansen had a little different take on the effectiveness of laws currently on the books.
“Does regulation work? It absolutely does. Once you get regulation, it works, and people will be monitoring those regulations.”
Tuuri of Audatex agreed that some laws are working, but sometimes it’s an imperfect process.
“Some of the regulations are working, but could they work better? Could it be a smoother process? Could there be less government involvement? Once you get the government involved, cumbersome is a word that always comes to mind,” he said. “I would say yes, obviously they’re working. I wreck cars and get them repaired and it seems to be a fairly smooth process day in and day out. Could it be a lot better? I think so. Could we build a better mousetrap? We could.”
Janet Chaney brought up the importance of keeping up with legislative efforts regularly.
“It’s not easy, but the word that comes to my mind is vigilance. We all need to stay vigilant with what’s going on and pay attention because things will be happening to your business that you need to know about.”