2020 ASA Virtual MSO Symposium shared insights from every collision industry segment

2020 Annual Mso Symposium

Mso Logo OutlinedNORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas – Nov. 24, 2020 – Earlier this month, the Automotive Service Association (ASA) presented the 9th installment of the popular MSO Symposium in an unprecedented virtual format.

Like all events in the collision industry since March, the pandemic temporarily prevented live attendance in consideration for health and safety. But even with those restrictions, more than 700 registered for the 2020 MSO Symposium, which was created for collision shop owners with multiple locations, and presented as a five-day virtual event.

For the first time ever, the program was open to the entire industry and at no cost.

The series of 90-minute, daily webinar sessions provided insight and guidance on the most important issues facing automotive collision repair businesses, and similar to years past, the agenda, timing, and content was driven and directed by industry-leading members of the program’s advisory board.

This year’s MSO Symposium was sponsored by well-known companies in the collision industry including 3M, ASA, Focus Advisors, CCC Information Services, Sherwin-Williams, Axalta, Entegral (Enterprise), I-CAR, RSG and Sun.

This year’s program featured speakers Susanna Gotsch, industry analyst from CCC Information Services; Rex Green, Global Co-Head Automotive Aftermarket Investment Banking with Jefferies LLC, OEM and insurance company representatives, and panel participants from a variety of multi-shop organizations, both large and small from across North America.

Day 1 (Monday, Nov. 9) of the MSO Symposium kicked off with an analysis from Ms. Gotsch on trends for 2021 and how they will impact the claims handling process.

Her insights are among the most respected in the collision industry, and some of the data presented showed how the drop in miles driven and changing consumer habits due to the pandemic have resulted in falling accident frequency, but growing loss costs due to vehicle complexity and severity. For example, she reported that costs are up about 6% for the year, not including total losses.

Some of the cost increases, Gotsch noted, were due to the growing need for vehicle scanning and vehicle calibration for Advanced Driver Assist Systems.

Following Ms. Gotsch to finish Day 1 was Vincent Romans of the Romans Group, who covered information on consolidation, private equity and the auto physical damage landscape.

Day 2 (Tuesday, Nov. 10)began with the OEM perspective in the form of a panel discussion moderated by Sean Carey, president of SCG consulting group.

Representatives from major carmakers included Rossana Alvarez from Honda, Jennifer Boyer from Ford, John Eck from GM, George Irving from Toyota and Andy MacDonald from Lucid Motors.

The discussion covered a wide range of topics from electrification to advances in electronic control systems and vehicle networks.

“While the structures will be familiar to the collision industry, electrification will have an impact on the vehicles being produced going forward,” said Eck.

Dan Risley

Day 3 (Wednesday, Nov. 11) started with a panel discussion on the rise of mega dealer collision shops moderated by Dan Risley of CCC Information Services.

Panelists were Shawn Griffin from Asbury Automotive Group, Bryan Rice from AutoNation, Darren Huggins from Berkshire Hathaway Automotive and Brad Walser from Hendrick Automotive Group.

The panel offered their views on vehicle scanning and talked about working with their mechanical and collision departments to better understand pre- and post-repair scanning and calibration needs to provide the best repair services to their customers while controlling costs and cycle time as much as possible. Other discussion centered around insurer relationships and involvement with DRP programs.

Roy Schnepper

Another panel moderated by Roy Schnepper, owner of Butler’s Collision, offered operational perspectives from Multi-Shop Operators. Panel members Matt Ebert from Crash Champions, Stephen Kendrick, Jr. of Kendrick Body Shop, Darrell Amberson of LaMettry’s Collision Center and Steve Kelly of Mike’s Auto Body shared their views on topics ranging from the ROI of OEM Certifications to how educating consumers and insurers on the need for scanning and calibration of ADAS-equipped vehicles.

Of particular note was the discussion on how each MSO was approaching the training and equipment needs for repairing today’s advanced vehicles.

Day 4 (Thursday, Nov. 12) focused on the road ahead for automotive claims and collision repair, and an interesting discussion on real estate owning vs. leasing.

The first panel was moderated by Stephen Applebaum from Insurance Solutions Group, and brought insights from Sandee Lindorfer from Allstate, Scott Kohn from Liberty Mutual, Chris Evans from State Farm and Patrick Burnett from USAA.

Much of the discussion revolved around working in the current virtual environment. The second panel was moderated by John Walcher from Veritas Advisors, who was joined by Gary Chou from Matthews, Dean Fisher from Driven Brands, Ben Hidalgo from Net Lease Development and Will Johnston from Service King.

As mentioned, they presented interesting insights on how their organizations approach owning vs. leasing real estate and the challenges and benefits of both.

Ray Fisher

Day 5 (Friday, Nov. 13) wrapped up the 9th Annual MSO Symposium and began with comments from ASA President Ray Fisher on how the Automotive Service Association is changing with the times.

The first panel was moderated by Joe Sparacino of Stiefel and discussed private equity’s role in the collision repair industry with panelists Neal Sahney from Frontenac and Jonathan Seiffer from Leonard Green & Partners. The panelists shared information on how PE views their role in the collision industry and what they are looking for in a business relationship.

Last, but certainly not least, the MSO Symposium finished with a presentation by Mike Anderson, Collision Advice, on alternative business models. Mike shared his insights on how collision shop owners can maximize their revenue and capabilities by thinking outside of the proverbial box when it comes to offering services to consumers.