New England Automotive Report April 2024

Page 1 Tune in to June’s MEMBERSHIP MEETING Serving the New England Collision and Mechanical Repair Industry April 2024 U.S.A. $5.95 "Your Massachusetts Auto Body Association" The Heavy Lifting Begins: Mitchell Responds to SCRS BLEND STUDY AASP/MA’s Reimbursement Rate and ADALB Reform Bills Move Forward


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11 Pilgrim Hill Road Plymouth, MA 02360

Phone Number:






757 Chase Road

Lunenburg, MA. 01462

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89 Turnpike Road (Rte. 9)

Westborough, MA 01581

Phone Number: 888-322-6570

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162 Mystic Avenue

Medford, MA. 02155

Phone Number: 781-475-5200

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231 Linden Street

Wellesley, MA. 02482

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Dartmouth, MA 02747

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Fitchburg, MA. 01420

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4 April 2024 New England Automotive Report
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6 | My Costs Aren’t the Insurers’ Business! by Kevin


8 | Their Numbers Just Don’t Add Up by Evangelos “Lucky” Papageorg


10 | Tune in to June’s Membership Meeting for Dave Luehr’s Greatest Hits by Chasidy Rae Sisk

12 | AASP/MA Golf Outing Save the Date


16 | Former MABA President Ed Boermeester Relishes in Retirement

by Alana Quartuccio


20 | DealerShop USA by Alana Quartuccio


28 | Reap the Rewards of Using OEM Parts Through Nissan’s Rebate Program by Chasidy Rae Sisk


32 | EV Repair: Fire Safety Considerations


34 | The Undoing of the McGilloway Decision by Sean Preston, Coverall Law

24 | Profile “Flexibility” But No Guidance Change: Mitchell Responds to SCRS Blend Study by Chasidy Rae Sisk

30 | The Heavy Lifting Begins: AASP/MA’s Reimbursement Rate and ADALB Reform Bills Move Forward by Chasidy Rae Sisk

New England Automotive Report April 2024 5
CONTENTS April 2024 • Volume 22, No. 4 ALSO THIS ISSUE

My Costs Aren’t the Insurers’ Business!

I recently presented an invoice for seam sealer to my customer’s insurance company. The invoice reflected my list price, but refusing to pay that amount, the insurance adjuster asked to see my cost. “That’s none of your business,” I told them. And it’s not!

Back in November 2005, the Auto Damage Appraisers Licensing Board (ADALB) issued a ruling on this matter. It states that the Board “unanimously adopted the following resolution: ‘No appraiser may demand an automatic discount from list price.’ Further, the Board ordered that this letter be sent to all licensees to remind them of their obligation under this resolution.” That adjuster obviously didn’t get the memo. Rather than accept the list price included on my invoice, they wanted to know my cost so they could apply what they consider to be an appropriate markup. Why should the insurer benefit from any volume discount I may have earned through my volume purchases? If they want to share in my volume discount then I think it only fair they share in helping to cover the increases I have experienced in running and maintaining my business! I don’t care what they think the markup should be; I’m entitled to my list price.

If a part or material was installed or used on the vehicle – especially if it left my shop with the vehicle – and I have a list price for that item, I believe the insurer should pay that



Thomas Greco |


Alicia Figurelli |


Alana Quartuccio |


Donna Greco |


Joe Greco |


Chasidy Rae Sisk |

PUBLISHED BY: Thomas Greco Publishing, Inc.

244 Chestnut Street, Suite 202, Nutley, NJ 07110

Corporate: (973) 667-6922 / FAX: (973) 235-1963



Kevin Gallerani


Brian Bernard


Mike Penacho

John Studer

Dan Wenzel

Affiliate Director

Al Correia

Brent Dabrosca

C.J. Ellis

Jimmy Kelsey

Russ Oagles

Doug Begin

amount. The adjuster and their supervisor both emailed me several times to ask what my cost is and offer a 25 percent markup, which would be a discount from my list price. Why should I give them a discount just so they can save money on the job? I’m curious to see what the ADALB does with the complaint I’ve filed since it contradicts their 2005 ruling.

Over the past 25 years, the cost of paint and materials (and of doing business in general) has gone up. And up. And up. And up again. Fuel charges, shipping costs, admin expenses, the need to staff more people and pay higher wages…as shop owners, we’re expected to come out of pocket for all those things, but who is paying for that? Certainly not the insurers who are trying to hold us to a 25 percent markup! What shops agreed to this, and why are they settling for it? Maybe that’s why our profit margins haven’t increased in so many years.

At the same time, insurance companies continue to see elevated profits as they increase their rates time and time again. Progressive netted $1.9 billion in just the last quarter of 2023. Allstate had a net profit of $1.5 billion, and Travelers reported a net income of $1.626 billion.

They know our costs are going up. They’re well aware of

continued on pg. 14

Matthew Ciaschini Treasurer

Dana Snowdale Secretary

Don Dowling

Dan Wenzel


Ray Belsito

Brenda Lacaire


Gary Cloutier

Andrew Potter

Brian Stone

Affiliate Directors

Mike Nawrocki

McColl Rhodes


Dean Luther

Jeff White

Affiliate Directors

J.R. Force

Angelo Memmelo

Jayce Mitchell

Gregg Tanguay

Scott Varney AASP/MA

6 April 2024 New England Automotive Report AASP/MA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AASP/MA STATEWIDE DIRECTORS AASP/MA DIRECTORS WWW.AASPMA.ORG New England Automotive Report is published monthly by TGP, Inc., 244 Chestnut Street, Suite 202 Nutley, NJ 07110. Distributed free to qualified recipients; $48 to all others. Additional copies of New England Automotive Report are available at $5 per copy. Reproduction of any portions of this publication is specifically prohibited without written permission of the publisher. The opinions and ideas appearing in this magazine are not necessarily representations of TGP Inc. or of AASP/MA. Copyright © 2024 by Thomas Greco Publishing, Inc. Images courtesy of AASP/MA ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE
Vice President
Director At-Large
Collision Director At-Large
Executive Director Evangelos “Lucky” Papageorg AASP/MA Administrative Assistant Alana Quartuccio P. O. Box 850210 Braintree, MA 02185 617-574-0741

Membership Application 2024-2025

Fax: 973-235-1963


Please complete this form and return to our office via mail, email or fax with your dues payment. Thank You!


Massachusetts Shop Registration # __________________

Company’s Official Name:

Business Physical Address:

Business Mailing Address (If Different):

Total number of Staff (Techs, office, Mgrs)________

Telephone Number: ( )- -___________ Fax: ( )- -

DUES STRUCTURE. Collision Shop Annual Dues: $650 / 12 Months*


Name: _________________________________________________

Email: _____________________________________________

As a member in good standing, your shop WILL BE listed on our website Click here � if you do not want your shop listed on our website map for potential customers to find you. If you have any questions about this benefit, call (617) 574-0741, ext. 1.

Yes � Please send me information regarding the following MONEY SAVING BENEFITS:

� Dental plan � Healthcare plan � Credit card processing � FMLA savings program � Grant writing/training � Google presence optimization � All benefits


Check# : _______________ (IF collision shop please note your RS# on the memo line of the check) OR CC #: ______________ EXP: ________/___________ CID: _________________

Billing Address: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Name On Card: _____________________________________________ Signature: _____

Check here � to opt out of auto renewal using this credit card information for future renewal

Note: A 4 percent convenience fee will be charged for membership renewal via credit card transaction

I hereby make this application for membership with the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of MA (AASP/ MA) for membership dues 2024-2025 as provided for in this contract.

*Membership Dues are for a twelve-month period commencing on your anniversary month of membership.

RECOMMENDED BY:__________________ FROM BUSINESS NAME: ___________________ REV 12/23

REV 12/23

New England Automotive Report April 2024 7 AASP-MA P.O. BOX 850210
Braintree, MA 02185 Phone: 617-574-0741

Their Numbers Just Don’t Add Up

Just about everything that we are concerned about in this day and age is based on numbers. For a diabetic, the question is the A1C number reading at the next doctor’s visit. During that same visit, your doctor may say you’re making improvements, but you must work to lower your body mass index (BMI) number. Soon, we will be submitting this year’s tax returns, hoping to lower our tax exposure and retain our hard-earned income. With regard to taxes, many in the collision repair industry will find that they have once again seen an erosion of their return on investment (ROI) number. Those who have neglected to keep up in the industry – by not spending money on training, new equipment and paying their body men adequately – will certainly see that erosion, but their experience will not be nearly as shocking as it will be for those who have strived to maintain a high level of safe and quality repairs on today’s vehicles by making those investments.

Then we have the insurance industry which continues to demand increases in their ROI by increasing premiums to their insureds by double digit percentages. They go through the “process” (merely a show) of petitioning their individual states’ rate-setting authority for approval while professing that they are doing everything they can do to control costs, particularly in the area of collision repair. This premium rate-setting process has been allowed to continue unchecked year after year, all while insurance companies report record-breaking profits; Progressive, Travelers and Allstate reported net profits of $1.9, $1.6 and $1.5 billion (respectively) in the last quarter of 2023 alone! A simple online search for any insurer’s “earnings release” reveals just how much they have lined their pockets with vehicle owners’ hard-earned cash…Their numbers just don’t add up! When will their lack of scruples and corporate greed stop?

As an informed consumer, I reviewed my own auto insurance policy and found some very questionable issues when looking at how my total premium was broken down. We are all familiar

with the different parts of the policy (which I believe, based on the trust I have in my own insurance agent, has me well covered should I ever need to submit a claim). I am fortunate because I am rated as a step 99, so I am getting the best possible discount based on my driving experience. That being said, I still feel that I am paying an exorbitant amount for protection in case of a loss. Approximately 20 percent of my total premium is collision coverage, and approximately seven percent is for comprehensive coverage. The remaining 73 percent of the dollars are to cover medical and legal damage to someone else’s property and for substitute transportation and transportation protection afforded me by my coverage.

What amazes me is that, year after year, when the collision repair industry seeks measures to increase the reimbursement rate to the consumer to cover the collision repairs to their damaged vehicle, insurers wave their “we will have to raise insurance premiums” banner. Again, this is where the numbers just don’t add up! When insurers wave this banner, it beckons the question, WHY? Why is labor reimbursement used as the tool to oppress an entire industry? What is the justification? As repairers, all we have to do is look at our own insurance policies and then look at a final bill to one of our customers, and we will see there is NO justification. As demonstrated by looking at my own policy, a very small amount of our premium actually applies to collision coverage; now, take a look at any final repair bill, and you’ll see the bulk of the expense is related to parts, materials, sublets…NOT the shop’s labor, which is usually the smallest portion of a shop’s invoice. So, how could increasing that number to a fair amount possibly have such a large impact on premiums, as carriers want everyone to believe?


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Because the numbers just don’t add up, there are more collision repairers who have realized that the only way to “Get More in ‘24” is to “Break Free” from the misconception that the rate of reimbursement any insurer is willing to pay is what a shop’s labor rate is equivalent to. NOTHING could be further from the truth! The TRUTH is collision repairers have allowed insurers to control the narrative for far too long. Shops across Massachusetts and the country have made the decision that someone is going to pay the true costs associated with repairing today’s vehicles and accept the huge responsibility associated with doing so. More vehicle owners are reporting that they have had to pay out-ofpocket costs their insurers have refused to indemnify. WHY? It is because some shops have taken the time to explain to their customers what their insurance company is really doing to them. When a shop takes the time to explain that insurers would rather take the chance that a vehicle will be repaired in a faulty manner by using aftermarket parts by a shop that has entered into a contract driven by insurance-controlled rates and NOT the shop’s technical abilities and equipment, the shop finds that they will not only keep that customer but will also improve their chances of collecting

continued on pg. 42

8 April 2024 New England Automotive Report
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in to June’s Membership Meeting for Dave Luehr’s Greatest Hits

Looking to “Get More in ‘24?” You won’t want to miss AASP/MA’s general membership meeting, scheduled to be held at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlborough on Saturday, June 22, featuring Dave Luehr of Elite Body Shop Solutions, who will be imparting words of wisdom on a variety of topics during an all-day series of workshops.

“This will be an all-day program designed to cover many relevant topics to ‘Getting More in ‘24,’” Luehr promises.

“You might say, this will be ‘Dave Luehr’s Greatest Hits’…a combination of operational training, time management and mindset development, all wrapped into a day-long powerful package. Attendees will walk away from this program excited about the future, instead of afraid of it, and they will be better equipped to take ownership over their businesses, instead of feeling trapped by their businesses.”

Luehr will help attendees understand how focusing on a few high-leverage processes will allow them to transform their entire business into a less chaotic and highly productive system. He believes, “Shop leaders spend far too much time attending to tasks that seem important but don’t really drive long-term success, so I

will share a daily routine that can get shop owners and managers working wisely on the business, instead of always in the business.”

Additionally, AASP/MA members will get to hear Luehr’s views on “all the amazing trends and opportunities that exist in the collision industry and how to view them as opportunities instead of problems to be avoided.”

Luehr is excited to share his insights with Commonwealth auto body professionals. “I feel a deep connection to the people in New England. I have had the blessing to work closely with many shops there, and while I am empathetic to their challenges in Massachusetts, I am even more inspired by their determination and ingenuity to overcome the challenges. My kind of people!”

Does he have any other tricks up his sleeve for attendees? “You never know what I might come up with by June!” he quips. “You’ll have to attend to find out.”

“Be prepared for a fun-filled, exciting, educational day!” predicts AASP/MA Executive Director Lucky Papageorg.

Can’t wait until June to get a dose of training AASP/MA-style? You don’t have to; chapter meetings are being held in a market near you this month and next month. Content will include instructions on drafting proper complaints to the Auto Damage Appraisers Licensing Board (ADALB), a detailed review of the SCRS blend study (learn more on page 24) and updates on the association’s proposed legislation (flip to page 24 to get caught up in advance), plus AASP/MA attorney Sean Preston of Coverall Law will be on hand at these events to dive deeper into the “forever forms” he has been building for auto body shops.

The dates for the chapter meetings are as follows:

• Zone 2 (Central Mass/Worcester county): Wednesday, April 3

• Zone 4 (Boston North): Wednesday, April 24

• Zone 1 (Boston South): Wednesday, May 1

• Zone 3 (Western Mass): Wednesday, May 22

Never miss a chance to learn more because when we know better, we can do better! Members are encouraged to watch their inbox and check to stay informed of upcoming opportunities.

10 April 2024 New England Automotive Report
Dave Luehr
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continued from pg. 6

how expensive repairs have become with the inclusion of ADAS and electronics on nearly every vehicle. They’re increasing their premiums to ensure they remain profitable, but they’re trying to hold us down by insisting on percentage markups, keeping the labor reimbursement rate as low as it is and whatever else they can do to stop shops from making the money we need to run our businesses more effectively.

Our shops are small businesses, and when we use our money on a job, our facilities are entitled to charge a reasonable markup. Insurers could pay these costs up front, but they don’t and won’t. Instead, we use our funds, which then aren’t available for other needs we may have. We’re in business to make money, not to loan it out without receiving anything in return. And if the insurers keep refusing to adequately compensate us, we have no choice but to fall back on our contracts with the customer which allow us to balance-bill the vehicle owner and let them deal with trying to be reimbursed by their insurer.

Why Join WIN?

WIN offers education, mentoring and leadership development opportunities to build critical skills for success in the collision repair market.

• Local/Regional Networking Events

• Annual Education Conference

• Educational Webinars

• Mentoring Opportunities

• Scholarship Program

• School Outreach Program

• Most Influential Women (MIW) Award

AASP/MA PRESIDENT KEVIN GALLERANI is president of Cape Auto Collision Center in Plymouth, MA. He can be reached at (508) 747-0316 or

14 April 2024 New England Automotive Report
New England Automotive Report April 2024 15

Former MABA President Ed Boermeester Relishes in Retirement

New England Automotive Report continues its mission to catch up with the many influential collision repairers who have helped make the industry a better place here in the Commonwealth. This month, we tracked down Ed Boermeester, retired owner of Kingston Auto Body and a former president of the Massachusetts Auto Body Association (MABA), to see what he has been up to since he retired from body shop life.

New England Automotive Report: When did you first get into the industry?

Ed Boermeester: I always worked on cars. When I was a kid, I lived around the corner from an auto body shop, and I started sweeping up there and pumping some gas for them. By 1965, I was 14, I had a working certificate, and I started officially working.

NEAR: Tell me about your shop. How long did you own it?

EB: I opened my shop, Kingston Auto Body, in 1973, and I sold it in 2019. I owned it for 47 years. It was a long time.

NEAR: You have been active with the association over the years. How did you get involved with the association (MABA at the time)?

EB: There were a bunch of us who would talk about the industry, in general. So, we started up with the association to basically let everyone know what was going in the industry, the trends and where things were going. We’d have seminars and speakers come in, and that is how we stayed in touch with the industry.

NEAR: Were you an officer of MABA? How long did you serve?

EB: I was involved with MABA for a good 18 years. I was president for a time. People needed to step up and do it, and I figured I can’t be part of an industry I don’t put anything into it. I really felt there was a necessity to stay current with the automobile changes to better serve the consumer and keep the quality of work up. Most of the members of MABA probably represented the upper crust of the industry who were concerned about doing a good job and doing the right repair. We also wanted the industry to be well, so that meant fighting for legislation. When the Reform Act of 1988 came in under Governor Dukakis, that was a turning point in the industry. We’re one of the only states that regulated to that extent. That was always an ongoing issue with our state and within other states. We were fighting to be able to run a good industry.

NEAR: Any memorable things from those years you’d like to reflect on?

EB: I think it was just about keeping the industry at the forefront

of legislators’ minds and trying to educate the consumers, as well as the insurance companies, on how a repair should be done and to not shortchange a repair, so to speak. That’s always been a problem. As time went on, the vehicles have become more and more intricate which changed the criteria for the shops. They had to become better equipped to handle these repairs. We hosted a lot of repair seminars, many on new equipment. We had a lot of participation – not only from repair shops but from our suppliers who are a big part of our industry. Trying to keep as many repairers in the loop as possible was one of the greater achievements of the association.

NEAR: You were involved with MABA when the association merged with Central Mass Auto Rebuilders Association (CMARA) and AASP/MA to become AASP/MA, or the Alliance as we know it today? Can you tell our readers how that came to be?

EB: Like in any war or conflict, you divide and conquer, and that is what the insurance industry was pretty good at doing. At that time, there were three different associations in Massachusetts – AASP, CMARA and MABA. I happened to get into a conversation with an executive secretary from one of the other associations; the third association wanted to be involved as well. The decision to combine into one unit was brought to the Board for a vote. It did create some issues with some shops, but I felt we had a better voice fighting as one group, instead of fighting as three.

NEAR: When did you decide to retire and why?

EB: I decided to retire about midway through 2019. I had lost my wife in February of that year. We were married for 49 years. I’d really had enough of what I called the “brow beating” and lack of respect that the insurance industry, legislators and – in a lot of cases – the general public had for the blue-collar repair industry. That’s very prominent with the labor reimbursement rate. Cars are getting more difficult to repair; the repairs are getting more intense. Quality repairs require bigger and better equipment, technicians need to have more knowledge, and no shop can really afford to pay new people enough to attract them into the industry. So I retired as I just couldn’t fight the good fight anymore. In all honesty, after 47 years, you get tired, and you run out of zip. You get old, and it’s not an old person’s game. Unfortunately, what’s going to happen – and it’s showing already – is the industry is going to have fewer and fewer qualified repairers. You’re going to wind up with throw-away cars. Look at the length of time it takes to repair a vehicle now.

Every job was a fight. It shouldn’t be that way. The damage is the damage. It’s there, or it’s not there. It’s pretty simple. But you have the people in control of the purse strings – and I’m not saying they have to have an open door or an open pocketbook – but you still have to repair the car. These cars are way too intricate. There

16 April 2024 New England Automotive Report

are all these gadgets in the car just muddying the waters of repairing them. People are still backing out of driveways and running over people. I’ve gone through way too many vehicle changes over the years. When I started out in the 1960s, we had muscle cars which we used to repair with lead. We didn’t use plastic as body filler. Now, there are different steels. It just got to be way too much. And if something happens to the vehicle down the road, they expect you to guarantee it. They’ll hang the shop out to dry for repairing the vehicle the way they (insurers) wanted it repaired. So you had nonprofessional people who do not know how to repair a car dictating how the repair should be done. It’s like having somebody in the surgical room tell the surgeon how to operate. And when the patient dies, they blame the surgeon. It’s the same situation, and it’s getting worse.

NEAR: Do you think the industry has changed since you stepped away?

EB: Absolutely it’s changed. Unfortunately, the way of conducting business hasn’t changed. Electronics have made processing paperwork faster, which is good. Procuring parts is a little better, as far as getting the right parts, although getting parts to shops has slowed down because most don’t stock them anymore because they are just too expensive. The turnaround time to repair these cars is getting longer and longer, which is a cost. Unfortunately, those paying the bills are cognizant in pointing out how long it takes to repair a vehicle and want to push repairs faster and faster, but you can’t do that as vehicles today are more intricate. And consumers expect more too. They are spending $40,000 to $60,000 on a car, so they expect the repairs to be the quality of $40,000 to $60,000.

NEAR: What do you miss most? Least?

EB: The biggest thing my friends, past customers and family members ask me is whether or not I miss it, and I absolutely do not! My doctors are very happy. My blood pressure is down. My health is better. At my age, I just take one pill a day. A couple of my friends who are also retired say the same thing. One friend kept a hand in the business doing estimates, while the other did what I did and walked away completely. He’s doing the same thing I am, just working around the yard and doing the relaxing things that we were never afforded the privilege of doing when we owned repair facilities because it was 24/7, 52 weeks a year working in the shop. There was always something. That’s not counting the nights of association meetings, expectations of consumers and insurance companies. Enough was enough.

I believe there’s going to be a shortage of repairers and repair facilities. I spoke to someone recently who had owned several locations and is now retired. He doesn’t miss it all…not one single iota, and he was very successful. The old people are leaving, and the new ones coming in won’t stay for a long time. A lot of regional trade schools are dropping auto body programs. The reason is that people can go to McDonald’s and make more money. That’s sad. It’s sad that you can put someone’s life behind the wheel of a vehicle

you repaired which you have to be certified to do, yet you can make more money handing someone a cup of coffee with a lid on it. It’s sad that Massachusetts has one of the lowest reimbursement rates in the country. It’s absolutely criminal. It makes some repairers have to consider the idea of not doing a straight-up job. They have to connive to get paid for every little thing, and it shouldn't be that way. One shouldn’t have to spend six or seven hours of management time to produce $1,000. I was always a numbers person, but I don’t have to think about that stuff anymore. I got my Social Security. I can live off of it fine because the industry did teach me how to manage money and get the most out of a dollar.

"People needed to step up and do it, and I figured I can’t be part of an industry I don’t put anything into it."

NEAR: Looking back now, some years removed, what comes to mind when you think about your time in the body shop industry?

EB: I knew I wanted to be in the collision industry because it’s what I went to school for. I graduated in auto body, and I never looked back at that point. I’ve worked on cars my entire life, and I was never without a job.

NEAR: Do you have any hobbies you’d like to share?

EB: I work in my yard and on my house. My grandchildren are older and, along with my daughters and son-in-laws, are my life. The friends I have are very dear to me. I have very few friends as I didn't have time to make many as I was always working all the time. A lot of shop owners will tell you that’s the case. It’s a very tough industry because you work so much. You find out that the friends you make are your friends when they have an accident but don’t even recognize you when you see them in a restaurant. Your friends are your colleagues in the industry. I am glad I had the run I had in the timeframe I had it, but it was time to leave.

NEAR: What is the one thing you think you got out of this industry you would not have gotten if you didn’t pick this career?

New England Automotive Report April 2024 17
continued on pg. 18

continued from pg. 17

EB: I’d say what I got out of this industry was how to handle adversity and how to work with go-arounds because it’s not an easy industry to make a living. It used to be a very highly respected industry, but it has not stayed that way. If you were a body man way back in the 1960s, you were highly respected as being a talent. Out of all the blue-collar workers today, we are probably the most laughed at. Electricians, plumbers and any other metal fabricator are paid three times more. Even mechanics. Historically, mechanics made $2 an hour less than a technician or body man. When I first went into this industry, the shop rate was $6.50 per hour. That was 50 years ago, and look at where we are now. Mechanics are at $125 or $140 an hour, and we are at $40 an hour! Why would anyone want to get into this trade? It’s sickening to me that we must have the knowledge to do what we do, but this is how we are thought of! I learned to survive on little money compared to others. Some people go on vacation two or three times a year, but we didn’t do that. My wife and I both worked to have what we have. I learned how to get up at 4am, and I’d leave the shop at 4pm to do some activities with my kids, and then my wife would go to work and get home around 9pm or 10pm, and then I’d go back to the shop to finish painting a car. That’s the life of a body shop owner. As we get older, some are able to step back and others are still going at it, but I was done. I was just done.

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Collision repair shops and dealerships know they can rely on DealerShop USA for just about everything they could possibly need to run their operation.

DealerShop USA is the one-stop shop for everything from paint to equipment and any other ancillary products shops and dealerships may need outside of the OEM space.

“We are the supplier of all sorts of products and services to collision shops and car dealerships throughout the northeast all the way through the midwest,” shares Ken Grove, vice president of sales. “The best way to define what our business offers is ‘everything outside of the cars and the car parts,’ so we don’t do anything that the OEMs do.”

Although the DealerShop USA brand is relatively new, it ties back to a larger entity known as Lead Auto Resource (known as LAR for short) – the largest co-op in North America – founded in

“And that really stems from our parent company, the original LAR, which is a fairly large group that represents nearly 4,000 dealers in total. They have a long history of over 45 years growing their products. We have inherited that and expanded it further. We have the ability to access and provide solutions for everything that the dealerships and collision repair shops can use.”

Since the rebranding, DealerShop also enhanced its e-commerce platform. “We have a fantastic product offering and have had nothing but great success with our e-commerce. We are able to sell products all throughout the US.”

As a commitment to growing their Massachusetts market and their ability to interact with more shops in the area, DealerShop USA came on board as a Bronze-level sponsor of AASP/MA’s Vendor Affinity Program. The company was introduced to the Alliance via Doug Begin (Vendetti Motors; Franklin) who they have

Canada in 1980. LAR expanded throughout Canada and into the US in 1999. Although it didn’t grow as quickly as it did in Canada, the business grew in the US over the next 20 years. “Fast forward to 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic, and a group of private equity investors came together to buy the US division and a good chunk of the Canadian group as well. They took the opportunity to rebrand it as DealerShop.” The company still has a close affiliation with LAR, using the same vendors to provide products and services to car dealerships and collision shops in the US. Since the DealerShop brand was born, they also acquired the Albany-based company, Total Tool, which has expanded the equipment side offering of the business even further. They offer shops whatever they need for servicing and repairing vehicles such as vehicle lifts, wheel and alignment equipment, high-volume low-speed fans, waste oil heaters, compressors or “just about anything used in the collision industry and the service side at dealerships,” Grove explained. The company’s New England presence continues to grow as they serve about 100 miles surrounding the Boston area. Regional Sales Manager Rob Lemieux is the point person for the New England market. He’s focused on providing body shops with a full array of products to suit their equipment and paint needs.

DealerShop USA’s offering goes much further than placing products into their customer’s hands. “Offering everything outside of the cars and the parts for the cars is pretty unique,” Grove states.

a great customer relationship with. Grove says the company hopes to meet more like-minded shops by networking via the Alliance.

The company’s business philosophy goes beyond offering products as they really strive to provide solutions for their customers.

“Our biggest role is building relationships. We will bring in the industry’s best and leading vendors to do training for our customers. For example, we have great relationships with some of the biggest paint vendors. So anytime a customer has needs for training or any concerns, we have the ability to bring the vendors in to do that training and provide those resources for them. We have quite a bit of pull as we represent so many customers.”

They are also focused on helping the businesses they work with prepare for the future.

According to Grove, the company recently hosted a vendor showcase for their Cleveland customers, exposing them to some new connections and also to some on-site I-CAR training. As technology continues to take hold of this automotive industry, the company is also looking into payment programs and credit cards fee surcharges solutions to make business life easier. With ADAS safety features at the forefront of most repairers’ minds, DealerShop also works with training facilities like Hunter Engineering who can educate shops on the repair side.

20 April 2024 New England Automotive Report


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Profile “Flexibility” But No Guidance Change: Mitchell Responds to SCRS Blend Study

Since the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) released the results of their blend study in late 2022, collision repairers have been waiting for updates from the three major information providers (IPs), but while CCC/MOTOR and Audatex both addressed the concerns raised by making changes to their systems last year, Mitchell remained reticent…until earlier this year when Jack Rozint, repair sales senior vice president, casually announced an imminent enhancement to Mitchell Cloud Estimating during open mic at the Collision Industry Conference, held in Palm Springs in January.

“There have been a lot of questions, apparently, about what Mitchell is doing in the area of refinish calculations,” Rozint acknowledged, explaining that an upcoming release to Mitchell Cloud Estimating would offer “the opportunity for users to set up, at the profile level, seven different areas of refinish calculations,” allowing users to “set up their own default settings for clear coat, three-stage and two-tone blend refinishing adjustments as well as different blends for each insurer, giving a ton of flexibility to our customers.”

In response to Rozint’s announcement, SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg asked, “Will the guidance in the Mitchell Guide also change relative to any of the formulas, or is it just the flexibility in the actual profile setup?” to which Rozint responded, “Our defaults will not change at this time.” So, Mitchell’s guide still indicates blends as 50 percent of the full refinish time, unlike the other two IPs that updated their solutions to provide profile flexibility and updated their guidance to recognize the variables associated with blending and changes in modern automotive refinish products. The updated guidance in CCC and Audatex addresses the difficulty of blending by recommending deference to the judgment of an estimator or appraiser following an on-the-spot evaluation of the specific vehicle and refinish requirements in question.

While Mitchell communicated these changes as an improvement, their insistence on adhering to the 50 percent formula that has been utilized in their Collision Estimating Guide for more than three decades is likely to continue to make it challenging for shops to take advantage of the system’s newfound “flexibility.”

Although Rozint claimed that the enhancements are designed to provide users with greater flexibility and control over labor time calculations and will enable repair planners to adjust all seven common refinish calculations in the estimate profile (clear coat, refinish, blend, three stage, two tone, finish sand and buff and de-nib and finesse), Mitchell’s insistence on maintaining its previous guidance seems to indicate a refusal to actually accept the facts that have been repeatedly presented.

“What is important to understand is that all three estimating platforms are merely a ‘guide,’” points out AASP/MA Executive Director Lucky Papageorg. “If you are ‘blueprinting’ properly rather than just ‘estimating,’ then you will have the documentation attached to justify your repair plan and costs. We, as an industry, have to stop waiting for someone else to do our work for us so that we can get paid fairly. We have the documentation. We have the regulations. What we need is the backbone to charge for the work we perform and the materials we use at a rate which is fair and reasonable…a rate which allows our businesses to be competitive while accepting the liability and expense for the vital work we perform, regardless of what a third party tries to dictate!”

The SCRS blend study, conducted in collaboration with AkzoNobel, Axalta, BASF, PPG and Sherwin-Williams, evaluated blending in comparison to full refinish values when considering solid, metallic and tri-stage refinish options across all the paint manufacturers and concluded that blend times are 31.59 percent greater than full refinished value on average, a significant difference than the 50 percent

formula utilized by the IPs at the time.

After conducting its own observational studies of the blend process, MOTOR/CCC released guidance in April 2023, changing its Estimated Worktime Development Methodology related to color blend of adjacent panels to account for variations in modern vehicle paint refinishing. Since their October system enhancement, users are able to click a blend button in CCC ONE which automatically calculates a two-stage blend at 50 percent of the refinish time and a threestage blend at 70 percent of the full refinish time. An on-the-spot evaluation allows users to either input a default value for two-stage and three-stage blends or opt to have the system prompt them for the blend time specific to that repair.

CCC also updated its Guide to Estimating to remove the prior formula and add verbiage clarifying that “estimated refinish times for color blending should defer to the judgment of an estimator or appraiser following an on-the-spot evaluation of the specific vehicle and refinish requirements in question.”

MOTOR specifically identifies judgment time as “the outcome reached when an estimator or appraiser considers the specifics of the vehicle and repair or refinish operation being evaluated to determine the estimated work time,” according to their response to an inquiry submitted by the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG).

DEG’s inquiry questioning MOTOR’s removal of blend formulas elicited the following clarification: “MOTOR removed the previously published color blend formulas after determining they may not reflect the many variations encountered with modern vehicle finishes and designs. Citing these variations, MOTOR does not intend to publish a list of included or excluded items specific to color blend.”

Audatex followed suit with a July update, ultimately providing users with the ability to adjust refinish labor time to specify a value between 50 and 150 percent in October, and by the end of 2023, the IP

24 April 2024 New England Automotive Report [NATIONAL] FEATURE

had updated its Database Reference Manual to remove its previous 50 percent blend formula guidance which was replaced with the following:

“Audatex refinish labor is based on the use of new and undamaged panels. Audatex Estimating does not provide a standard labor allowance for blended panels as this requires the estimate preparer’s judgment, expertise and consideration of the unique requirements for each repair. Determination and assessment of labor and materials necessary in the blending process is best provided by the estimate preparer during the estimate preparation process. To assist the user, profile settings allow for customization to enter a specified blend percentage, as necessary.”

“They didn’t just update their system based on our research; they conducted their own research and based their system updates on their findings,” Schulenburg notes an important factor related to the IPs’ updates. “These changes are based on their decisions and are NOT the result of the SCRS blend study; that study was merely the catalyst that prompted them to re-evaluate their own information.

“This is an important fact for shops to understand and use as a talking point because an insurance company doesn’t need to believe what SCRS found during our blend study…those well-documented findings were persuasive enough that the IP re-evaluated its own studies and came to its own conclusion.”

Acknowledging that some shops have reported challenges in conversations with bill payers around blend times, Schulenburg suggested that repairers might find it valuable to present insurance

carriers with documentation related to the IPs’ responses, including trade press articles on the topic, as a means of furthering the conversation. “When we have representatives from the estimating providers who share that they are aware and have been aware of this being an issue long before the SCRS blend study ever occurred, that's probably useful in your dialogue.”

In fact, Solera Product Management Senior Director David Davoodi told industry news outlet Repairer Driven News in November 2023 that Solera was already aware of the concerns SCRS and other repairers had for months – if not years! – prior to the release of the results of the association’s blend study results.

Schulenburg encouraged repairers to be conscientious that they spend time understanding the variables within their own process at their facility and use that to present data in a meaningful way.

“It’s easy to state that you’re doing something because of what the blend study says, but it fails to really express how the research relates to what is happening in your repair process and tasks that your technicians are already performing in your repair facility. Some carriers may push back because they don’t recognize SCRS as an entity that does time studies, and that’s fine; we’re not. But the IPs didn’t make those changes just because SCRS did the blend study. The study opened a conversation that led them to do their own research and come to their own conclusions, and noting that could lead to a very different conversation.”

New England Automotive Report April 2024 25



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Reap the Rewards of Using OEM Parts Through Nissan’s Rebate Program

Fit, quality, performance, safety, cycle time, fewer returns, enhanced customer satisfaction…There are many reasons for collision repair facilities to use OEM parts. The opportunity to save money has been added to that list, thanks to Nissan’s parts rebate program, which seeks to reward repairers for using more OEM parts!

When a shop uses more OEM parts, they’re eligible for a larger rebate – up to 22 percent! – as the rebate multiplies based on the percentage of Nissan or Infiniti OEM parts ordered through OPSTrax, a parts procurement platform. All parts are eligible for the rebate, as long as they are ordered as part of a complete repair estimate.

Orders that include 65 to 75 percent OEM parts receive a five percent rebate on those parts, with the rebate doubling to 10 percent for those parts on orders consisting of 75 to 85 percent OEM parts…and then doubling again to a 20 percent rebate if the order is comprised of more than 85 percent OEM parts.

Although Nissan/Infiniti certification is not necessary to be eligible to participate in the rebate program, certified shops do receive an additional one percent rebate, as long as their total share of OEM parts reaches at least 50 percent. An extra one percent rebate is available by subscribing to RepairLogic and using it to create two or more Nissan/Infiniti repair plans each month.

For example, on a $3,000 estimate utilizing 80 percent OEM

parts, a non-certified shop would be eligible for a rebate of $30. By increasing OEM parts usage to 100 percent, that shop’s rebate climbs to approximately $135; a certified shop using RepairLogic would be around $165. The entire estimate must be submitted through OPSTrax using TraxMatch to qualify.

The main goal behind the program is to ensure Nissan/Infiniti customers receive the safest possible repairs, utilizing OEM parts by well-trained technicians, but it also offers value to repair facilities. “Nissan knows it gives the shop operator an opportunity to take another step toward ensuring they install the parts they feel more confident in,” according to Daniel Dent (Nissan). “We want to partner with businesses and individuals who care about the customer experience and provide the absolute safest repair possible. Nissan understands that our customers’ safety comes first, and we know the safest repair is one with 100 percent OEM parts with trained technicians and the right tools.”

Rebates are paid via ACH to the shop’s chosen business account, and there is no cost to access OPSTrax, although shops will be charged five percent of the total rebate as a monthly administrative fee. Enroll now through April 30, 2024 to be eligible for a $100 signup bonus.

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The Heavy Lifting Begins:

AASP/MA’s Reimbursement Rate and ADALB Reform Bills Move


It’s a long, long journey to Beacon Hill when you’re only a bill. After a bill is filed, it must pass through several committees and a floor vote in each chamber (the House and the Senate), both of which must agree on the final version before the enacted bill makes its way to the governor’s desk, hopefully to be signed into law.

AASP/MA’s reimbursement rate bill and the association’s proposed legislation aimed at reforming the Auto Damage Appraiser Licensing Board (ADALB) may both still be singing “I’m Just a Bill,” but recently, they each took another step to becoming law.

“Both bills were released from their initial committees with ‘ought to pass’ favorable votes,” reports AASP/MA Executive Director Lucky Papageorg. “We’re happy to see this positive forward motion, but now, the heavy lifting begins.”

“We can’t rest on our early success,” AASP/MA Lobbyist Guy Glodis agrees. “The foundation of AASP/MA’s bills has more to do with consumer protection than with the collision industry itself. It’s really about the best way to help consumers in Massachusetts, and it’s an important message for the State House to hear. We have to continue to push our consumerreform agenda and make the legislators truly know why these bills are important to the public’s well-being.

“The Legislature very rarely acts; it tends to react,” he adds. “It’s incumbent upon us to educate our legislators about the issues that affect the auto industry and collision repair consumers. Reform doesn’t come by chance; it comes by advocacy, organization and keeping the membership motivated to force change up on Beacon Hill.”

Thus far, AASP/MA has done an amazing job of advocating for the change needed. During the last legislative session, the association’s efforts produced strong bipartisan support which allowed them to hit the ground running when this session opened in 2023, quickly securing lead sponsorship for “An Act relative to the licensure of appraisers” (HB 262) and “An Act to establish minimum reimbursement rate to insurance claimants” (HB 1035).

Sponsored by Representative Tackey Chan (D-Norfolk) and Senator Paul R. Feeney (D-Bristol), HB 262 seeks to move the ADALB away from the Division of Insurance to the Division of Occupational Licensure, require term limits for members and include consumer representation, which it currently lacks. In July, Papageorg, Ray Belsito (Arnie’s Auto Body; Charlton) and Brian Bernard (Total Care Accident Repair; Raynham) testified on behalf of the bill, explaining that the ADALB, in its current state, is widely viewed as ineffective and biased since the Board members who represent the insurance side outweigh the collision repair side three to two; the proposed changes would level the playing field.

During its trek through the Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, HB 262 teamed up with its Senate equivalents, SB 213 and SB 214, to form the current iteration of the proposed legislation,

30 April 2024 New England Automotive Report

SB 2568 (available in its entirety at At the end of January, SB 2568 received an “ought to pass” vote and was referred to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means where it awaits its second reading. As of the writing of this article, the bill has acquired support from 48 legislators.

Representative James K. Hawkins (D-Bristol) again sponsored the association’s efforts to establish a minimum labor reimbursement rate, HB 1035, which began its journey to the Capitol by being referred to the Joint Committee on Financial Services. The goal of this important legislation is to increase the existing rate AND require annual adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index. During a public hearing in October, AASP/MA members and other industry leaders voiced support for this proposed legislation as well as several additional bills with the same intent.

HB 1035 partnered with like-minded HB 950, HB 1095 and HB 1118 to accompany a new draft via HB 4412 (available in its entirety at, which, in February, was subsequently reported favorably to the House Committee on Ways and Means to receive its second reading. At the time of this writing, HB 4412 has 44 co-sponsors.

These bills started as ideas that seemed worthwhile, and courage and patience is needed to see them signed into law. For now, SB 2568 and HB 4412 are waiting in committee while legislators debate their merit, which means there’s still more for the collision repair industry to do to help them become law.

At the moment, AASP/MA is calling on ALL members and ALL auto body professionals to make their voices heard by contacting legislators to explain how these bills impact their small businesses and, more importantly, Massachusetts consumers who rely on their elected officials to protect their interests. Shop owners and managers should encourage everyone on their teams to take just a few minutes to call their legislators and write a personal letter or email. Remember: Legislators don’t understand what it takes to fix today’s complex vehicles, but repairers certainly do, and that’s why it’s so important for the Massachusetts auto body community to come together to take a stand to support their customers and thereby the collision repair industry as a whole.

“Taking the time to write a handwritten note will help your legislators understand that these bills impact actual people; they impact you, their constituent,” Papageorg encourages everyone to get involved. “Plead your case as a small business that is just trying to do what’s right for the consumer – trying to repair vehicles safely – but you’re being thwarted by appraisers and adjusters who won’t approve necessary processes and procedures, so you’re forced to charge your customer the difference that the insurance company refuses to cover. And those appraisers are not being held liable for their immoral and what could sometimes be considered illegal behavior due to the ineffective ADALB. Our legislators don’t know the ins and outs of what we face everyday, so it falls on us to let them know!”

“We will get the bills out by making noise; three people won’t move them, but 30 to 40 people reaching out to members of the State House and Senate can really make a difference,” Glodis emphasizes that there is strength in numbers. He also reminds repairers to “be polite and professional, and our message will fall on good ears. Representatives and Senators want to be your friend. They get elected and re-elected based on their constituents. There’s nothing more powerful than a business owner who has a business in their district, a constituent or an employer who employs four or

five constituents calling up and just talking about a bill that affects their industry and livelihood. I think you’d be surprised by seeing how positive the response is and how the Legislature really wants to support their constituency.”

Educating your customers and asking for their support is another way that everyone can get involved in pushing these bills forward. “The artificially suppressed labor reimbursement rate is having a devastating effect on vehicle owners and the collision repair industry…an industry that is counted on by millions of constituents across the state to guarantee the safety of the motoring public,” Papageorg says, recommending, “Talk to your customers about how the labor rate is not high enough to be able to effectively and safely do the job. I know many of you balance-bill. Tell consumers they may potentially help themselves avoid paying a balance to a shop if the minimum is raised to something fair and equitable. HB 4412 will keep the rate from becoming stagnant.

“If we don’t continue to apply pressure, we won’t see success,” he adds, reminding repairers that insurers will certainly be applying pressure, as they did during the last legislative session, such as through the robocalls, paid for by local and national insurance companies, that “warned” consumers that a labor reimbursement rate mandated legislatively would result in higher premiums. “We made such great strides that insurers had to resort to robocalling the public and legislators in an attempt to stop our momentum. Much of their efforts fell on deaf ears, so the insurers had to resort to a second round of calls, paid for by a national association of insurance companies. That fact alone shows how much influence the Massachusetts collision repair industry wields!”

Be prepared to exercise that influence in the coming months… in addition to letters and calls, repairers can get involved in this legislative battle by testifying at future readings of HB 4412 and SB 2568, should the opportunity arise.

“This is when the real work starts,” Papageorg stresses. “We need every shop in the Commonwealth to take just a few minutes to help explain how these initiatives benefit the consumers who are their constituents. We refuse to be pacified by insignificant increases that create the potential for unsafe repairs. Massachusetts drivers deserve better, and we’re going to continue fighting until our legislators do the right thing and pass legislation to protect our roadways…and we’re going to need the entire industry to come together to help us make that push and make progress. We CAN get this legislation passed this session, but we need YOUR help to do it. This is NOT a one and done request. If you do not reach your legislator on your first attempt or they do not respond to your request for a call, you MUST reach out until they do. ‘The squeaky wheel definitely gets the oil.’”

“We look forward to working with the legislature to bring both of these consumer protection bills to fruition in this current session,” Glodis adds. “The hard work and continued support of the AASP/MA membership will be key to our success.”

Don’t miss the call to action and your chance to make a difference for the industry’s future! Email to sign up for notifications from AASP/MA to stay informed on what’s next. The Commonwealth collision repair industry needs – and demands! – change, but the Alliance cannot do it without your help…it’s time to flex those muscles by supporting HB 4412 and SB 2568 on their journey to becoming laws!

New England Automotive Report April 2024 31

EV Repair: Fire Safety Considerations

When it comes to repairing electric vehicles, safety should always be the number one priority. One of the primary risks in EV repair is the high voltage present in batteries and powertrain components. Even a small mistake could lead to a deadly situation.

Lithium-ion batteries, while efficient and powerful, can be prone to thermal runaway if damaged or improperly handled. This could result in a fire that is difficult to extinguish, posing significant danger to the entire repair area.

In addition to always wearing personal protective equipment when working on hybrid and e-vehicles, technicians must be trained using manufacturer procedures on how to safely handle lithium-ion batteries and how to respond in the event of a fire. Properly outfitting the repair area with preventative safety equipment and accessories is a necessary measure to not only ensure efficient and effective repairs, but also minimize the risk of accidents or injuries.

If a fire does occur, products like the RAE containment blanket are essential to prevent building damage in the repair area. When used properly, the fire blanket will prevent flames from spreading to surrounding areas, isolating the fire and lowering the oxygen content at the scene of the fire. All this helps give professional emergency services time to respond to the incident.

The WS 1100 fire protection ceiling is non-flammable (A1) according to EN 13501-1, with innovative, mineral-coated high-temperature fabric on both sides with continuous thermal load up to 2012 °F. The blanket can withstand a short-term thermal load of up to 2462 °F, with a melting point above 2912 °F. It is extremely lightweight and easy to deploy in an emergency.

For more information on the WS fire containment blanket or critical safety measures that should be considered when repairing EVs or conventional vehicles, Reliable Automotive Equipment is your

If a fire does occur, products like the RAE containment blanket are essential to prevent building damage in the repair area. MASSACHUSETTS

source for products, training and support. Visit them at or call (800) 328-7855 to learn more.

32 April 2024 New England Automotive Report One Call, One Truck for 14 Brands!

Co-celebrating decades of creating chemistry between two industry leaders

Here’s to 241 years of combined service excellence

This year, as Albert Kemperle Inc. celebrates its 83rd anniversary, BASF also celebrates its 158th anniversary. We are proud of our decades of partnership with BASF and years of serving the auto paint and body industry together. Kemperle’s founders would be proud of this relationship and the growth their company has experienced because of it.

Today, as we look forward to many more decades of service to our customers, we find ourselves filled with gratitude. The creativity, hard work, and sense of responsibility of the people working for our two companies have made us what we are today.

Thank you for your many years of loyalty.

New England Automotive Report April 2024 33
626 E. Elizabeth Ave., Linden, NJ 07036 Phone: (908) 925-6133 Fax: (908) 925-4344 414-416 Madison Ave., Paterson, NJ 07524 Phone: (973) 279-8300 Fax: (973) 279-9030 631 Clifton Ave., Toms River, NJ 08753 Phone: (732) 797-3942 Fax: (732) 797-0774 100 Melrich Road, Cranbury, NJ 08512 Phone: (609) 860-2800 Fax: (609) 860-2801 4 Emery Ave., Randolph, NJ 07869 Phone: (862) 244-4818 Fax: (862) 244-4822

The Undoing of the McGilloway Decision

In October 2021, the Supreme Judicial Court (“S.J.C.”) brought a wave of hope and victory for car owners in Massachusetts with the ruling of McGilloway v. Safety Insurance Company. For the first time, the ruling recognized the right to claim Inherent Diminished Value (IDV) for vehicles post-accident. It applied to third-party losses, meaning another driver was at fault. This pivotal acknowledgment paved the way for fairer compensation, allowing vehicle owners to recover the lost market value of their vehicles due to someone else's negligence. But the victory was short-lived and quickly faded away.

Background: A Landmark Shift with McGilloway

The McGilloway ruling was groundbreaking, marking a significant shift in auto insurance practices in Massachusetts. It underscored that when another driver is at fault, the affected vehicle's owner should receive compensation – not just for the repairs but also for the vehicle's diminished value post-repair. This decision heralded a new era, promising a more balanced and just approach to insurance claims, ensuring that vehicle owners were better protected against the financial repercussions of accidents they

didn't cause. But insurers quickly found ways to avoid the issue; in fact, they’d laid the groundwork years before.

Here, we're always going through the other party's insurance, because we want third-party payment of IDV, but the point I intended was that you have to sue the actual driver to get at their policy – because the insurers may straight out refuse.

Evading McGilloway

In researching Coverall Law’s “forever forms,” we found three instances in the wake of the S.J.C. decision where insurers strategically avoided the McGilloway decision. The S.J.C. is the highest court in Massachusetts, responsible for interpreting and overseeing Massachusetts law in Massachusetts courts. But parallel to Massachusetts courts are United States Federal Courts, each created by their respective constitutions. Forum shopping is a strategic legal maneuver where a party chooses a court and venue thought to be more favorable for their case. Insurers, while not the creators of this tactic, have adeptly utilized it following the McGilloway decision.

34 April 2024 New England Automotive Report
Sean Preston,

Post-McGilloway, there have been notable instances where insurers, aiming to avoid the implications of this state ruling, moved their cases to Federal Court. Analyzing three such cases reveals a pattern of strategic relocation from Massachusetts jurisdiction to federal, circumventing state-specific precedents that favor vehicle owners.

Legal and Ethical Implications

This strategic court selection raises significant legal and ethical questions. It not only challenges the authority and autonomy of state courts; it also impacts the fairness of legal outcomes. By choosing forums they perceive as more favorable, insurers can undermine the precedent set by Massachusetts' highest court, potentially leaving vehicle owners at a disadvantage and skewing justice. Through these actions, insurers demonstrate a keen understanding and manipulation of legal frameworks, prioritizing their interests at the expense of equitable justice for vehicle owners in Massachusetts. But the groundwork for the insurers to make this play happened years before when the 2008 AIB Standard Massachusetts Insurance Policy was updated to the 2016 version. The approved wording is controlled by the Commissioner of Insurance. The 2016 standard insurance form for all auto policies provided several new restrictions on payments, which were largely targeting towing companies but also aimed at the same IDV issue McGilloway brought. The 2016 language added the following:

“The amount we will pay does not include compensation for physical damage to, or towing or recovery of, your auto or

other auto used by you or a household member with the consent of the owner, or any decreased value or intangible loss claimed to result from the property damage unless otherwise required by law” (emphasis added).

While the S.J.C. in McGilloway cited Massachusetts law as far back as 1811, the Commissioner saw fit to allow insurers to carve out this requirement, presumably saving the legality of the move through the final words: “unless otherwise required by law.”

Spoiler Alert: It Is Required by Law!

As of September 2023, Massachusetts court decisions began to deviate from the McGilloway precedent. Insurers leveraged the federal decisions and modifications in the 2008 to 2016 Standard Massachusetts Auto Insurance Policy to influence these outcomes, emphasizing the updated language to sidestep state-level rulings allowing IDV claims.

This maneuvering by insurers paints a grim picture of legal and insurance frameworks manipulated to prioritize corporate interests over consumer rights. The ability of insurers to forum shop, influence and exploit policy language nuances has tilted the balance away from the equitable treatment vehicle owners expected postMcGilloway, highlighting a concerning trend in legal strategies that prioritize insurer profit over fair compensation.

While the McGilloway decision once symbolized a significant step toward justice for vehicle owners, recent developments

continued on pg. 38


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continued from pg. 35

underscore a challenging reality. The ongoing legal and policy shifts necessitate continued advocacy and potential legal reforms to ensure that the rights of vehicle owners in Massachusetts are protected and that the promise of fair compensation is not undermined by strategic legal interpretations or policy wordings.

So what should someone do if they believe they may be entitled to IDV? It’s not enough to make the claim against the insurer… you have to nail down liability against the at-fault driver and collect by reaching through that driver’s insurance policy. It’s an unfair and nuanced procedure which vehicle owners shouldn’t have to do. They simply got swept up in the insurance companies’ attempt to strike back against towing companies.

Coverall Law Managing Attorney Sean Preston finished in the top of his law school class at the historic Howard University School of Law in Washington, DC after serving in the United States Army. He went on to excel in business and legal strategy, serving some of the world's most recognizable brands in neighboring industries. Sean recently returned from Berlin, Germany with his family (where he served in Rolls-Royce's General Counsel function) and today resides in Wareham, MA, where he helps to oversee and meaningfully lead efforts in the region for Coverall Law. He can be reached at (508) 635-5329 or

38 April 2024 New England Automotive Report
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40 April 2024 New England Automotive Report

continued from pg. 8

proper reimbursement.

Those shop’s customers are also typically successful in getting reimbursed by their insurance company. Although this is not a guarantee and is highly dependent on the vehicle owner’s persistence, there are a few things which are guaranteed: 1) A shop which has kept up with training and equipment is going to be making proper repairs. 2) A shop which is doing proper repairs does not have to keep looking over their shoulder concerned about past repairs and can focus on the future. 3) A shop which is charging a vehicle owner a copay (balance billing) is going to be able to continue to keep pace with the changing technology and afford to pay to entice quality technicians to their facilities. 4) A shop which educates their customers will make customers for life and will receive multiple recommendations from those customers. 5) A shop which is able to maintain a fair and reasonable ROI will be a shop of the future. 6) If you are not one of the shops which are doing number one through five, your numbers will never add up!

If you are unsure how to proceed or just want to improve upon the advancements you have already made, be sure to join us for our upcoming series of chapter meetings to be held all across the state and culminating with a great General Membership Meeting in June, the focus of which will be “Knowing Your Numbers” and “Getting More in ‘24.” Keep an eye out for our chapter meeting notices and for your invitation to join us on June 22 for an informative presentation by national and international motivational and educational speaker, David Luehr of Elite Body Shop Solutions (see page 10 for more information on the June meeting).

Attending, and becoming a member of the ALLiance will go a long way to making sure your numbers do add up! See our application on page 7, or go to and click on the

NOW button.

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