The CertifiedFirst Network and The CEI Group announced at the 2001 International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) an agreement in which the CertifiedFirst Network will act as the sole provider of independent standard verification for shops in the CEI Direct Repair Network.CEI maintains the Direct Repair Network of participating shops throughout North America. The company pre-qualifies the shops to assure its fleet and property & casualty customers of warranted repairs coast-to-coast. CEI’s Advisory Council and other independent research indicate that insurers, fleet owners, and consumers feel strongly that auto body shops that are used to repair their vehicles should attain certification status through an independent third party.The CertifiedFirst Network verification process consists of two segments. The first, which ensures shops meet standards related to facility and workmanship warranty, is an inspection by professionals from Underwriters Laboratories, who verify shops embody the high standards developed specifically for the CertifiedFirst Network. During the second segment, Customer Research Inc., automotive industry specialists in customer satisfaction, performs an in-depth Customer Satisfaction Index for the shop.Under the terms of the agreement, CEI will place a high priority on current CertifiedFirst Network shops that apply for CEI’s Direct Repair Network and help to speed their application through the new shop membership process. Additionally, CEI will encourage and assist interested Direct Repair Network shops to learn more about participating in the CertifiedFirst Network.