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Helping to Move the Industry Forward

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A little more than two years ago, as I began my tenure as publisher of this great magazine, several advisors offered me help, commentary, assistance and support. For that, I was genuinely appreciative. However, as I think back upon that time, I’m reminded of the general “tone” of their input. Mostly, how they felt the industry had had enough of the bickering between shops and insurance providers. They wanted to see the industry put aside its differences and drive forward, together, into an era of mutual prosperity based on quality customer service.

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I was compelled by their input, and I too believed that shops were most in need of sound business advice and information aimed at helping them succeed in an industry beholden to the influence of insured consumers. This magazine had always provided that type of information, but perhaps we were (just a little) guilty of also perpetuating the ill will between shops and insurance providers. So, with a new outlook on the industry, and without sticking our collective heads in the sand, we embarked on an editorial mission to place even more emphasis on helping shops become more profitable and a little less emphasis on the bickering between shops and insurers.

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In the subsequent two years since that time, I must say that what takes place between the majority of shops and the majority of insurers is much more than just “bickering.” Instead of these differences becoming less of an issue, they in fact have become much more of one. This isn’t to suggest that the advice I received was wrong. Quite the contrary, the advice I was given was right on, and we’re a better provider of indispensable business information today because of it. However, the most compelling and most business-altering issue at the forefront of this industry today remains the divisive, almost combative relationship that the majority of shops have with insurers. For us to avoid the subject and its ramifications would be equal to committing trade publication suicide. This industry issue trumps all others, and we’re more than prepared to cover it.

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In just the past few months, we’ve seen, heard or read “open letters to the industry,” passionate cries for the complete overhaul of estimating systems,
e-mail dialogues debating consumer fraud as it relates to various repair and estimating practices (among other issues) and suggestions of a repeal of the 62-year-old McCarran-Ferguson Act. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Each of these issues is centered on the tenuous relationship/business partnership shops have with insurance providers, and each is a labyrinth of confusion, debate and divisiveness. Therefore, in the near future, this publication will take an in-depth look at each of these issues (and more) in a comprehensive and sincere way, and as an industry service to clarify their content, qualify their consequences and rectify their significance.

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In looking back on the advice I received only a couple years ago, I now see that this type of editorial effort (i.e., tackling the shop/insurer relationship head-on) will not only help the industry move forward, but may also serve to enable shops to thrive in that future.

Stay tuned…the next two years should be really fun!

Jon S.Owens,
Publisher

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