Insurance industry rejects criticism of 'steering' policy
Insurance Bureau of Canada says list of 'preferred' shops is meant to help consumers
The Insurance Bureau of Canada is rejecting allegations insurers are steering customers to certain body shops to get their vehicles repaired.
Kevin Robinson, the owner of Spectrum Spray in Boiestown, raised the concerns this week when he said his business is down significantly this year because people are being urged by their insurance companies to use shops that are deemed “preferred.”
Amanda Dean, the vice-president, Atlantic, of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said the system of "preferred" shops is meant to guarantee consumers that the shop has met certain standards.
“The benefit for the insurance company is that they know and trust the workmanship within that shop,” she said.
She said the system is simply a guarantee a shop has been tested and inspected so customers can drive away with no worries about the quality of the repairs.
Customers are still free to choose whatever auto body shop they want, she said.
The policy is still frustrating Robinson.
"They're basically slandering my shop ... saying they won't guarantee my work while a preferred shop will," he said.
Rob Dumais, a writer with Collision Repair Magazine Canada, said this week the practice of setting up preferred lists and sending customers to those businesses is also called "steering" in the industry.
He said large body shops and insurance companies are making deals to send business each other's way.