Featured CIECA Committee: Referral

03-31-2023 10:56 AM By Stacey Phillips

Two years ago, CIECA announced it would embark on the next generation of collision industry standards—JSON-based Open API Standards. Since then, CIECA has established committees to determine what electronic communication standards need to be created. Each quarter, we’ll feature one of these committees in the CIECA Standard newsletter. 


CIECA’s Referral Committee was formed in October 2022 after Kim DeVallance Caron, Global Product Portfolio Director for Enterprise Holdings, suggested the idea during CIECA’s semi-annual meeting in 2022. 


“The collision industry’s technology and customer expectations have changed significantly since the BMS standards were created in 2006,” said DeVallance Caron. “With vehicle technology, smart phones, etc. having the ability to detect crashes and support the fulfillment of services at the time of incident, it was clear CIECA as an organization needed to take these use cases into consideration.”


“The insurance-based assignment model used in the BMS simply doesn’t capture the scope and variability that is emerging as vehicle and smart phone-based sensors offer alternative means of communicating accident information,” said Paul Barry, CIECA’s executive director.

The committee’s objective is to improve customer service and efficiencies in the inspection and repair process by developing and maintaining messaging standards aimed at automating vehicle referral activities. 

DeVallance Caron explained that many services at the time of incident have not or will not be vetted/authorized by the insurance carrier; meanwhile, the customer needs to get the process started and in motion.


The Referral Committee will take these into consideration and come up with the referral services and messages that customers will need depending on the severity of the accident. 


DeVallance Caron said the ultimate goal is to create referral standards that will get the appropriate information to the parties involved in the claim (shop, insurance carrier, etc.) and get the customer the services they need at time of incident (tow, rental, glass, etc.).


The committee is open to members and non-members and currently consists of all collision industry segments that use the assignment message.


Paulette Reed, CIECA’s technical project manager, explained that the referral message is similar to an assignment message; however, an assignment is typically triggered by the bill payer (insurance company) and the referral comes from business partners that are not responsible for payment.

“In the past, the company that sent the assignment to the business partner was typically the same as the one paying for the tow, rental, etc.,” said Reed. “With new technologies being used today, there are different ways the assignment of services can be initiated after a collision.”

For example, through telematics, an OEM can make a referral to a body shop after first notice of loss (FNOL).

Stacey Phillips