ICBC to rank auto body shops in effort to curb rising claims costs

NDP government announces new steps to save ICBC money
WATCH: NDP government announces new steps to save ICBC money

Amidst growing concerns about auto body shops over-billing for repairs, ICBC will rank auto collision and glass repair shops by performance.

Once the program is fully put in place, the rankings, which will be based on a number of metrics, will appear on the ICBC website.

“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,” Attorney General David Eby said.

“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.”

READ MORE: ICBC is spending 50 per cent more on vehicle damage than in 2012. Is it getting value for money?

In 2017, ICBC spent about about $1.5 billion on vehicle repairs, nearly half of that — $745 million — at auto body shops.

Story continues below advertisement

Under ICBC’s Express Repair program, shops can get what’s called “earned authority.” More than 500 auto body shops have received that designation.

Level 1 allows shops to do work under $1,500 without approval, while Level 2 allows repairs under $2,500.

If ICBC has concerns about an auto body shop charging the correct amount, the public insurer has disciplinary options that include dropping a shop from its website, or reducing how much it pays shops for labour, though just three shops saw that penalty last year.

BC’s auto body industry fires back at claims they are part of ICBC problem
BC’s auto body industry fires back at claims they are part of ICBC problem

The new collision program will take effect Feb. 3 and the new glass program will take effect March 2. Combined, both programs will encompass approximately 1,000 collision and glass repair shops throughout the province.

The rankings will not be put in place until significant data is collected.

Body shops fire back at allegations of overbilling
Body shops fire back at allegations of overbilling

The program, which will include the use of random and targeted reviews to reduce inappropriate repair charges, and increased auditing and drop-in visits with shops exhibiting deteriorating performance.

ICBC is also increasing the training requirements to ensure collision repair facilities have the capability to repair the majority of vehicles according to original manufacturer-repair procedures.

The province is also encouraging repair shops to repair glass rather than replace it, where appropriate, to increase savings for ICBC ratepayers.

Story continues below advertisement

Christine Perry, a regional manager with NOVUS Glass, said “it’s great to see the province working to develop a program that elevates performance through a new tiered model.”

READ MORE: B.C. repair shops say new ICBC policy will cost them ‘hundreds of thousands’

The change is just the latest step in the province’s overhaul of the public insurer, which has lost more than $2 billion over the last two years.

The province hopes savings will come from improved performance and enhanced governance that drives higher efficiencies via faster processing of claims and faster repair cycle times.