Money-losing ICBC seeks savings by ranking auto repair shops

Auto collision and glass repair shops will soon be subject to an ICBC ranking system, an initiative that B.C.’s public auto insurance agency says will “generate savings and promote high-performing shops to serve drivers better.”

Repair shops will be ranked by performance based on various factors and the rankings will appear on ICBC’s shop-locator webpage.

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Attorney General David Eby said the rankings will enable drivers to make informed decisions and encourage shops to be top performers.

Among the elements of the program, which was developed in consultation with the repair industry:

• Windshield shops will be encouraged to repair instead of replace when possible. “In many cases, a small crack or chip in a windshield can be repaired instead of replacing the entire windshield. ICBC’s comprehensive coverage for private passenger vehicles allows customers to have their windshield chip repaired for free with no deductible,” ICBC said.

• Efforts to reduce inappropriate billing for repairs.

• More drop-in inspections, especially at shops where performance is sub-standard.

• Better equipment and training to ensure collision-repair shops have the ability to fix most of today’s vehicles.

• Improve the ability of shops to write fair and accurate repair estimates.

“After consulting with industry leaders, the redesign of the collision and glass repair programs will improve transparency and accountability of repair shops for drivers who get into accidents and need to choose which repair shop they go to,” Eby said in a statement. “By publicly ranking the repair shops by performance, where repair shops strive to be the top performers, we expect that this will help curb some of the rising claims costs and pressures that ICBC is facing.”

ICBC, which has lost almost $2.5 billion over the past two years, largely due to rising claims costs and legal fees, said savings will be found from improved performance and efficiency, faster repairs and faster processing of claims.

The new collision program will take effect Feb. 3, 2020, and the new glass program will take effect March 2, 2020. But shop rankings won’t be available until “after significant data is collected,” the Ministry of Attorney General said.

“We are pleased to have been a part of developing new standards of performance, which will reduce costs and improve service to industry stakeholders and B.C. drivers,” said Adrian Scovell, president and CEO of the Automative Retailers Association, which has more than 1,000 members around the province.

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