The Insurance Consumer Advocate Network: - BodyShop Business

The Insurance Consumer Advocate Network:

Individual drivers are, on average, only involved in an accident once every seven years. Such infrequent exposure to the collision repair process leads to a lot of questions.

Since a large – and I mean large – percentage of repairs are paid for by insurers, you can bet your customers also have a lot of inquiries about the claims process. Consumers rarely pay attention to the language of their policy or their coverage until they have to (I say this with firsthand knowledge). And when they have to pay attention to it, it’s like trying to decipher Latin.

As an industry professional, you can help customers understand both the repair process and the claims process without enrolling in any evening “Insurance 101” courses.

The Insurance Consumer Advocate Network (I-Can) was created in 1996 by Dennis Howard, a retired insurance adjuster with more than 30 years experience. I-Can’s mission is to provide honest answers and good advice, and to be “a national support network of respect for the insurance consumer.” To that end, the network provides consumers information to help them make better decisions regarding insurance. Part of that mission also includes providing an effective Web presence for insurance/claims professionals (agents, adjusters/ appraisers, attorneys, body shops, etc.).

When you log onto, an index allows consumers to access information about frequently asked claims/insurance policy questions; local departments of insurance; and local body shops, attorneys, glass shops, diminished value (DV) professionals and claims professionals who support I-Can. (To join I-Can and become a local help advocate yourself, visit the Web site and click on the icon on the home page.)

Because Howard believes consumers should “let the elected officials in your state hear from you,” the Web site features a state legislator finder. It allows visitors to search for state representatives and senators by state, name or zip code and then provides address, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail addresses to contact them.

Another feature offers answers to consumers frequently asked questions about DV: What is DV? Has my vehicle suffered DV? How can I collect DV? Does my opinion matter?

As a shop owner, keeping up with the latest technology and business trends can help your shop be more productive and profitable. Helping consumers understand the complex claims process can do the same for your bottom line by turning them into loyal customers. It’s a whale of a task, but I-Can is dedicated to helping. Says Howard: “We know we’re going after Moby Dick in a rowboat … and we’re taking the tartar sauce with us!”

Are you an Internet surfer? Have you bookmarked Web sites that offer honest answers or good advice for running your shop or helping consumers? If so, please e-mail the Web address and a brief description of how you use it to Melissa McGee at [email protected] or fax it to (330) 670-0874.

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