IBIS USA 2019 – A world of opportunity

The inaugural International Bodyshop Industry Symposium USA event gathered industry leaders on 13-15 February. Themed a ‘world of opportunity’, invited delegates heard from world-class speakers, participated in unrivalled networking opportunities and gained global perspectives to inform their North American crash repair operations.

The welcome to San Diego’s Hilton venue was led by the unmissable Solera Audatex drinks reception, before the conference proper kicked-off on the Wednesday evening at the Kona Kai Hotel. With delegates networking over some drinks and fantastic food, this start excited delegates with the scheduled programme of insightful and informative event sessions.

Day one of IBIS USA began promptly at 9:00am. Jason Moseley, CEO of IBIS, welcomed delegates to this first USA-based event. The first half of the day was themed around sessions regarding insurance. The event’s first speaker was Ian Thompson. His role as chief claims officer for EMEA, Zurich, gives him a unique perspective on the role of insurance and the changes that are arising in the digital age.  He outlined the potential pitfalls facing the industry and majored on the opportunities available to ensure the industry works seamlessly for all parties.

The second speaker was Jamie Yoder. He works as president of Snapsheet. Jamie’s session was about how the US market could leverage Insurtech companies. Dr Barry Sheehan, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, continued the discussion of insurance in the day’s third session by informing delegates of the new frontiers in risk management for the auto industry in his session.

To round off the morning and conversation of insurance, delegates heard from Mick Noland, executive vice president and chief executive officer, Mapfre USA. Mick took a futuristic approach to his session and explained what the future of auto insurance claims in the US might look like.

After some much needed lunch, IBIS USA’s session turned its focus to that of collision repairs and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The afternoon began with a panel discussion about the quality of collision repairs. Chris Grimm, Verifacts, moderated the discussion, and on his panel was: George Avery, Avery Knows; Harte Logan, CultureSynk; David Sosa, BMW of North America; and Randy Stabler, Pride Auto Body. The panel session offered delegates a frank discussion about the process of collision repairs. It also put the spotlight on customer expectations and how the industry can work harder to better manage and deliver truly great service.

The day’s last session speakers were Frederiek Tony, president, global Ford customer service division and Tim Turvey, global vice president, General Motors care and after sales. Firstly, both speakers conducted a session of their own regarding each car maker’s approach to collision repairs and elements to its programmes. Then, both Frederiek and Tim participated in an insightful panel discussion, moderated by Sean Carey, about the different approaches manufacturers take towards collision repair and what that future might look like as materials technology and the connected and autonomous car continues to evolve.

The first day of sessions was closed by Jason, who invited all delegates to the evening’s gala dinner. The dinner took place at the Hilton’s outside pavilion where delegates were treated to drinks, table wine and a three-course meal.

Day two of IBIS USA began bright and early with an educational session from professor Michael Cox, who discussed the current shifting global economic and political landscape. He emphasised the situation the USA is in and identified how the educational requirements of the industry can develop.

The day’s second session tackled the topic of creating a sustainable future for the collision repair industry through skills and diversity. The session was conducted in a panel format, which consisted of Selvi Rizk, owner-operator, Fix Auto; Stacey Bartnik, industry relations manager, Intertek; Ty Gammill, senior vice president, talent development, Calibre Collision Centres; and Carl Brabander, head of global franchise development, Fix Network World.

To end the half day of sessions, Jason conducted an industry interview with Steve Grimshaw, CEO, Calibre Collision Centres. The two discussed Calibre’s role in the collision repair industry, challenges it has faced and where the company’s future is headed.

The successful IBIS USA ended with a closing thank you from Jason. Delegates were then invited to a networking lunch at the Hilton’s Garden by the Bay, where, luckily, the weather had returned to sunshine.