Tuesday, 31 August 2004 17:00

ACCA remains active in monitoring the anti-steering bill

Now that the anti-steering bill HB 2468 has passed in Arizona, what is the next step for the Arizona Collision Craftsmen's Association (ACCA)? (Autobody News, July 2004) The bill, sponsored by Fairness for Automotive Consumers (FAC), includes anti-steering provisions that protect con-sumer choice, place limitations on the claims adjuster making repair decisions thereby protecting the competitive market, and has mandatory reporting requirements with stiff penalties for violations of the bill. 

Although the bill will not take effect until the end of September, some insurers are already running interference on the field. A CCC GEICO estimate written in Arizona in August already has this disclaimer:

"We are prohibited by law from requiring that repairs be done at a specific automotive repair dealer. You are entitled to select the autobody repair shop to repair the damage covered by us. We have recommended an automotive repair dealer that will repair your damaged vehicle. If you agree to use our recommended automotive repair dealer, we will cause the damaged vehicle to restored to its condition prior to the loss at no additional cost to you other than is stated in the insurance policy or as otherwise allowed by law/ if you experience a problem with the repair of your vehicle, please contact us immediately for assistance."

Insurers use new language

The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Arizona is getting the information to members. The association viewed the legislation in a recent member bulletin explaining that "one of the insurance issues that was subject to legislation this year addressed concerns from glass companies and body shops that some insurance companies (and sometimes their agents) were directing policyholders to specific repair facilities without disclosing to the insured first they have the option of selecting a repair facility of their choice.

"Some insurance companies have preferred provider arrangements with glass companies and/or body shops. This practice will still be permitted, however, this new legislation will now require the insurance company and their agents to disclose to the policyholder that they can select to have their vehicle repaired at a facility of their own choice.

"It is important to understand what this legislation does not do. This legislation does not eliminate the contractual right of the insurance company to pay more than the reasonable market price for the repairs. The insurance companies will still have the rights consistent with the provisions of the insurance policy. This includes the right of the insurance company to receive notice of the loss or claim, as well as all other defenses to the loss of claim."

Barry Aarons, lobbyist for the FAC, Fairness for Automotive Consumers, reminds the industry this a long road. He asks the Arizona collision industry to document and report instances that are not in compliance with the new law. This legislation gives Arizona a powerful opportunity to poll customers to find out if in fact the insurance companies are complying with both the letter or intent of the law.

New member benefit

Collision repair specialists now have a single point of contact for job seekers and employers alike with the implementation of the new association benefit - an industry-specific job bank.

This new job bank allows member employers to post current job openings on the association's website for 30 days at a discounted rate. Non-member employers are also welcome to use this effective and efficient job bank.

Job seekers can post their resumes on the ACCA website at no charge, which will then be displayed on the job search network, giving them exposure to hundreds of employers located throughout Arizona.

"Members receive a discount on posting their positions and non-members within the industry may also use this effective tool. The ACCA's mission is to be the single point of contact and voice for body shop owners. This benefit can build into the single point of contact for our industry job seekers and employers," stated Dan Hunsaker, ACCA president.

For more information regarding the ACCA or to become a member, please visit www.az-cca.com or contact headquarters at 480-893-1222.

Janet Chaney has served in many facets of the collision repair industry. She is now looking after the best interests of her clients from Cave Creek, Arizona. Her email address is janet_chaney@earthlink.net.