OEM certifications put into State Farm shop locator

State Farm has made good on plans to flag certified auto body shops on its Select Service network locator.

It’s unclear which OEMs are reflected in State Farm’s records and which haven't yet been added. For now, the locator is just sortable by distance or featured facilities; you can’t filter it by other data contained in the chart.

We ran 75-mile searches Wednesday in five major metro areas across the nation — Chicago, New York City, Seattle, Houston and La — figuring these could be vulnerable to yield a variety of certified repairers among the pool of results. We found shops recognized as certified for Vehicle, Subaru, Toyota, BMW and Mercedes around the consumer-facing tool. As noted above, other brands may be present too.

State Farm did not react to a request information on the date the initiative started and just how customers have been responding.

State Farm claims consultant Chris Evans in November 2021 had estimated that such certification listings would appear within the first quarter of this year.

“We believe that that is what our customers're asking for, and that's what we're gonna give 'em,” Evans said.

Evans told the virtual MSO Symposium last fall that State Farm didn't require automaker network participation for Select Service shops, but it was exploring the idea of OEM certification.

“It's not going away,” Evans said.

He named it “really concerning the customer.” What did customers want, and were they pursuing OEM certification? State Farm saw an “increasing trend for the reason that direction,” he explained. “- We're serious about it.”

The move through the nation's No. 1 insurer could increase overall consumer awareness of the idea of OEM networks, which could benefit both DRP and non-DRP certified repairers. It also rewards Select Service shops who make the time and expense of certification by recognizing that distinction from their peers.

It may also spur other insurers to aid customers and also the carriers’ own certified partners in such a fashion.

Appearing on the virtual MSO Symposium panel with Evans was Liberty Mutual auto physical damage Vice President Scott Kohl. He called OEM certification “more and much more important,” particularly as vehicles be complicated.

“OEM certs do matter,” he said. “- Although it is not a requirement, it certainly is beneficial.”

He named it essential that Liberty Mutual supported its certified direct repair program facilities with volume “so that that moves for their body shops.”