20 years ago in the collision repair industry (May 1996)
At the 1996 Automotive Service Association annual convention in Washington, D.C., the association brought together a panel of attorneys to address complex but critical questions, such as if preferred provider networks a violation of antitrust laws.
Don Randall, who retired in 1993 as ASA lobbyist and legal counsel, moderated the discussed and reminded ASA members that it is often difficult to provide “black and white” responses on legal issues.
“The law is not an exact science,” he said. “It is an ever-evolving, live institution.
Randall asked the panel: Do laws allows insurers to establish direct repair programs, or could such relationships be seen as an illegal “tying arrangement,” tying the purchase of a policy to the consumer’s agreement to use certain shops for repair?
“I’m not sure we have an answer to that now,” George Slover, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division, said. “All that the antitrust statute says about this is one sentence: no contracts, combinations or conspiracies in restraint of trade.”
David Snyder, an attorney with the American Insurance Association, said he felt the law was more clear on insurance programs.
“These types of plans have already been repeatedly challenged in federal and state courts, and repeatedly upheld under the antitrust laws,” Snyder said.
– As reported in Collision Expert