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Kansas association launches new program to educate shops and consumers

Kansas Auto Body Association stresses importance of proper repair procedures and having shops compensated

Lawrence, Kan.—On the heels of another Kansas Auto Body Association (KABA) tutorial presentation late last month, the young organization has bigger plans ahead, including a launch of a new program on Dec. 11, and its second trade show in April.

Ementi Coary says KABA seeks to bring value and education to body shops and consumers.

“We’ve done a good job as a first-year organization and putting on a trade show, as well as our other educational events,” said Ementi Coary, a founding member of KABA, who added that the tradeshow scheduled for April will be in either Topeka or Manhattan. “We like to move around the state to avoid being anchored in one area so everyone has better opportunity to be involved and participate.”

Beginning Dec. 11, KABA is rolling out a new program in Kansas City called “You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know — GM OEM Required Procedures” to educate shops on, among other things, proper inspections, repairs and procedures and where to find them.

“There’s so much to know,” Coary said, “such as accidents where steering columns have to be removed and examined for possible replacement. It’s an example of what Midwest associations have been trying to do more of — bring that kind of value to body shops and consumers as a whole.”

KABA is getting the word out through social media and email blasts, which it also deploys for monthly roundtable event notifications. Also in the works is a fall 2020 tour of three state regions with an industry speaker to draw more people in.

Before KABA, Coary had been involved with the Iowa Collision Repair Association (ICRA) and also considered becoming involved with the Nebraska Auto Body Association (NABA).

“I realized, however, that we didn’t have a state-wide association in Kansas. As I traveled throughout the state, I acquired a list of 10 body shop owners/managers and we started having conference calls about what our goals would be.”

Other KABA founding members include Jeff Oldenettel, Clay Hoberecht, Tony Adams and Jamie Leonard. Brad Harding also joined shortly thereafter.

Follow repair procedures, fix vehicles properly, get paid

Coary is also a Mitchell International solution specialist for Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa, and spearhead the most recent tutorial in Wichita that focused on how Mitchell estimating can bring value to shops through finding repair procedures.

Some shops that were attending, including dealership collision facilities Rusty Eck Ford in Wichita and Midwest Superstore in Hutchinson, weren’t Mitchell users, but were interested in GM repair procedures, which is included in the Mitchell estimating platform.

“Being able to have easy access to repair procedures at the line level and GM service manuals, as well as the ability to read diagnostic trouble codes are important to fixing problems shops run into,” Coary said.

Other topics of conversation involved how to research codes for DTCs, replacing a rear body panel on a Ford, seeking information on MIG brazing and how shops can get compensated for all the work they perform.

“Shops need to provide documentation to get paid,” he said. “Insurance companies, in my opinion, want to see the documentation. If they’re going to pay for something, they want to see proof.”

Coary added, however, that an insurance company’s propensity to compensate for certain procedures is dependent on the region, and the insurance company.

“It’s different for each market and each insurance company for reasons I don’t know. For example, the difference between the Chicago area and Kansas can be drastic. Regardless, it’s our job to prove that certain procedures are needed to fix a vehicle properly and safely. The shops are the experts and they need to inform the insurance companies and help them understand how repairs should be done.

“The reason I took the job with Mitchell was to help the industry fix vehicles properly and safely, and getting all the documentation they need. I try to assist the industry in any way I can.”

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