Industry Misclassification Risks – General Automotive Repair vs. Specialized Automotive Repair

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Industry Misclassification Risks – General Automotive Repair vs. Specialized Automotive Repair

Accurate industry classification is pivotal for insurance underwriters assessing businesses in the automotive repair sector. General Automotive Repair and Specialized Automotive Repair are two distinct categories, each with its unique scope of services and risk profiles. Misclassification of an automotive repair business can lead to miscalculated insurance premiums, coverage that doesn’t adequately address the risks involved, and unforeseen liabilities for both the insurer and the business owner.


About General Automotive Repair and Specialized Automotive Repair

General Automotive Repair refers to establishments primarily engaged in providing a wide array of mechanical and electrical repair and maintenance services for automotive vehicles, including passenger cars, trucks, vans, and trailers. This industry encompasses everything from routine maintenance to extensive repairs and, in some cases, engine repair and replacement. Typical examples include automobile repair garages and general automotive repair shops that offer various services under one roof.

Specialized Automotive Repair, on the other hand, consists of establishments that focus on specific types of mechanical or electrical repair and maintenance services for automotive vehicles. These businesses generally specialize in one or more particular areas, such as brake repair, suspension repair, exhaust system replacement, electrical repair, transmission repair, or automotive tune-ups. This level of specialization requires specific expertise and equipment tailored to the services offered.


The Differences Between General Automotive Repair and Specialized Automotive Repair

General Automotive Repair establishments typically offer a broad range of services, requiring diverse expertise and tools. From an insurance underwriting perspective, the risks associated with these businesses are varied. General Automotive Repair shops could encounter liabilities related to workmanship, potential damages to vehicles, or issues with various equipment and tools. These shops need comprehensive coverage that encapsulates a multitude of potential risks across different services.

Conversely, Specialized Automotive Repair shops focus on specific services, and their risk profile is narrower but more concentrated. For example, an automotive brake repair shop primarily faces risks related to the quality and reliability of brake repairs. These specialized shops might need more tailored insurance policies that emphasize the particular nature of their services, possibly requiring higher liability limits for specialized equipment or specific workmanship liabilities.


Premium Leakage Risks 

If a General Automotive Repair business is misclassified as a Specialized Automotive Repair shop, the insurance underwriter might not account for the full spectrum of services offered by the general repair shop. Consequently, the insurance premiums may be set based on a narrower set of risks. In such cases, if a claim arises from a service that is outside the scope of what the insurer believed the business was providing, this could result in inadequate coverage and financial losses for both the insurer and the business.

On the other hand, if a Specialized Automotive Repair shop is misclassified as a General Automotive Repair business, the premiums might be set based on a broader risk profile, potentially leading to overpricing. While this may seem advantageous for the insurer initially, the business might seek more accurately-priced coverage elsewhere. Moreover, in the long term, an uncompetitive pricing strategy might cause the insurance provider to lose market share. Additionally, if the insurer doesn’t fully understand the specialized risks, they might inadvertently underprice certain specialized liabilities, leading to potential losses.

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Jonathan Ringvald

CPO, Relativity6

Jonathan Ringvald is the Chief Product Officer (CPO) of Relativity6, a data science and artificial intelligence company based in Boston, Massachusetts. With over 15 years of experience in product management and development, Ringvald has a proven track record of leading successful product teams and delivering innovative solutions that drive business growth