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Publisher’s Perspective: One Big Number

Our best defense against this enormous spending is to support our associations and get involved.

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As many of you know, I usually direct my column toward general business practices or automotive items. I leave the industry issues to Jason because of his
in-depth industry knowledge, plus it allows for a broader coverage and tone to the publication. Of course, as in life, there is always an exception.

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Recently, I read an article that cited some research figures that made me take pause. It showed that the insurance industry spends nearly $150 million on lobbying. Admittedly, this lobbying covers all types of insurance, including health care. Still, that’s a ton of funding. To bring it a little closer to home, three of the largest insurers in our industry spent more than $10 million on lobbying in 2014. I’m not here to advocate a political overhaul, but it seems like the scales might be tipped against us on the repair side just a bit.

Merriam-Webster defines lobbying as: Any attempt by a group or individual to influence the decisions of government. This is a very serious subject when you talk to legislators. They’re quick to tell you that it’s protected by the First Amendment. According to them, it’s a required element in effective lawmaking. I’m a devout American, so I generally believe in our founding principles and regard the First Amendment as a basic principle of all Americans.

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Here’s my dilemma: Lobbying should be for the good of the public – you, me and all Americans. Do we think that $150 million was for our well-being and not the shareholders of the insurance companies? I know where I’m placing my bet.

So how do we as an industry combat that kind of funding? I hope you all belong to one or more of the great associations we have in our industry. The Auto Care Association, ASA and SCRS are all excellent organizations that have the best interests of repairers in mind. They exist to represent all of us in this industry en masse, and they do an excellent job. Our best defense against this enormous spending is to support our associations and get involved.

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I urge you to get involved with these groups, even if it’s at the local level. We here at BodyShop Business support all of them. They are our voice against resources with which none of us can individually compete.

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