Nationwide Senior Business Consultant Russ Sims Joins CIECA Board of Trustees

Russ Sims, property & casualty claims senior business consultant for Nationwide, joined CIECA’s board of trustees, effective immediately. In his new role, Sims will support CIECA’s mission to develop and promote electronic data integration standards that allow all segments of the collision industry to be more efficient.

“Insurance companies, rental companies, body shops, and other collision industry players are all looking at the same picture from different angles,” said Sims. “Regardless of their perspective, they all need to work together to make sure their common customer receives the care and respect they deserve. Everyone benefits when we can all agree on a common method of communication.”

Sims has served on CIECA’s Subrogation Committee helping to build the BMS messages and said that he is looking forward to being part of the organization’s board of trustees.

“We welcome Russ to CIECA’s board of trustees,” said Paul Barry, CIECA’s executive director. “With his extensive background in claims handling and technology, he will be a valuable addition to the board.

Sims joined Nationwide in 1994 as a multi-line claims associate, primarily handling auto calls. He recalls carrying a big box of books in his trunk that listed parts prices and replacement times that he used to handwrite estimates.

“I had a Polaroid camera that took instant pictures that I would attach with Scotch Tape onto the estimate,” he said. “It wasn’t long before technology changed everything.”

Four years later, he worked in Nationwide’s new centralized unit that was set up to manage the relationships with repair facilities the company had chosen to partner with as direct repair shops (DRPs). The shops would send digital estimates and photos that he could review without having to physically see the vehicle. Shops received assignments via fax, and negotiations were done over the phone.

Over time, Sims said that these functions and others were incorporated into the estimating software. “It was clear the changes being introduced by technology were going to continue to transform the industry,” he said. “Although much has changed over the last 25 years, it is the beginning of the changes yet to come.”

In 2009, Sims moved from handling claims into claims technology. In his current position, Sims helps ensure that the technology being used keeps pace with the ever-changing needs of customers and associates.

“While I work in claims technology, the most important part of my job deals with understanding people,” said Sims. “When I take on a new project, the first thing I ask myself is how will this benefit the customer. I look forward to helping the collision industry prepare for the customers of the future.”

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CIECA (Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association) develops collision industry Information Technology (IT) standards and provides implementation guides for electronic commerce. CIECA is composed of members of the automobile collision repair industry: repairers, insurers, vehicle manufacturers, parts and material suppliers, information and software providers, general service providers and related segments and industries. CIECA's goals are to deliver benefits to all participants through reduced development and support costs, lower cost of implementation, reduced barrier to entry and faster development times.