Nationwide Vouches for Repair Shops

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Imagine an insurance company that points customers in your direction, guarantees your work for life, and approves most of your collision repairs using an online service. Nationwide has become that company for eight repair shops in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.

How? By expanding its Blue Ribbon Repair Service Program to include motorcycles. But all participating repair shops must use certified mechanics and state-of-the-art equipment, and mechanics must follow EPA requirements. Nationwide plans to audit each shop annually.

The carrier guarantees all repairs for as long as the policyholder owns or leases the bike. "It's a great way to get more customers in here," says Sheila Blower, co-owner of Category 5 Custom Cycles, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Quick turnaround times are mandated. Nationwide requires each shop to own a computer program made by Mitchell International (see "Fuel for Thought," October 2007) that allows dealers to upload digital images of the crashed bike and prepare an estimate. The software automatically inputs pricing for labor and parts. In most cases, according to Nationwide, an adjuster can approve a claim over the Internet.

"This way, the customer isn't waiting for the adjuster to come out, or waiting for the check to get cut," says Jeff Lampe, owner of Kissimmee Motorsports in Florida. "Overall, it will probably save the customer a couple of weeks."

Nationwide plans to add other repair facilities to the Blue Ribbon program based on customer demand. At press time, the participating dealers were awaiting signage and promotional materials for their Web sites. — Arlo Redwine