Mass. DOI to Hear Debate on Auto Repair Issues

February 21, 2003

In an attempt to settle long-standing differences between insurers and auto repair shops, the Massachusetts Department of Insurance (DOI) is holding a hearing on Friday, Feb. 21 on various proposals calling for changes to existing regulations on auto body repair.

“We are generally supportive of efforts to streamline the existing regulations and we have been working with the Massachusetts Auto Body Association (MABA) to reach a consensus,” Gerald Zimmerman, senior counsel for the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII), said. “However, we oppose some of their specific language and are proposing our own alternative regulation.”

NAII opposes the following changes proposed by MABA:

·Eliminating the “lowest possible price” requirement on rebuilt, aftermarket or used parts;

·Requiring that the rebuilt, aftermarket or used parts result in the “lowest overall repair cost.”

·Requiring that “due consideration” be given to “all cost factors, including but not limited to automobile rental charges, parts return costs and supplements.”

·Raising the minimum mileage limit before which there is discretion to use new parts from 15,000 miles to 36,000 miles.

·Specifying that a new part is a “new original equipment part” and eliminating the phrase “at the same or lower cost,” substituting the requirement that such new parts “will result in the lowest overall repair cost.”

“The Automobile Insurers Bureau of Massachusetts (AIB) is submitting a proposal that would modify the MABA proposal addressing the concerns we have with the MABA proposal, and we believe it will not only improve the repair process but will help to reduce costs,” Zimmerman added.

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