The AASP-MN proposal to make an insurance company refusing payment for a repair procedure that is called for by an original vehicle manufacturer an unfair claims practice was recently pulled from the House Commerce Committee agenda, effectively ending prospects for passage this legislative session.
The bill initially sought to clarify that an insurer’s obligation to assume all costs for the “satisfactory repair” of a vehicle includes completion of vehicle repairs consistent with OEM specifications. After two meetings with representatives of the insurance industry and an exchange of proposed amendments, the repair industry refocused its attention on adding a new provision to the unfair claims practices established at Minn. Stat. § 72A.201.
The new language, to be introduced as an “Author’s amendment,” would have made an insurer's denial of payment for repair operations and procedures performed in accordance with the original vehicle manufacturer’s documented technical procedures an unfair claims practice. The proposal would not have changed current law regarding the types of parts to be used in the repair of a damaged vehicle.
The bill, House File 2234, was scheduled for hearing on March 15 in the House Commerce Committee. However, late on March 14, the Alliance was contacted by the bill author, Representative Ruth Richardson, who shared concerns of the committee chair, Representative Laurie Halverson, regarding the lack of agreement between the insurance industry and the repair industry. The chair opted to pull the bill from the committee agenda in favor of continuing discussions between the two industries with the intention of trying to find accord.
While it was disappointing to have the bill pulled just hours before the hearing, the author, Representative Richardson, has indicated a willingness to secure additional time with Chair Halverson to more thoroughly brief her on the importance of AASP-MN’s proposed change. There has also been discussion about having an “informational hearing” to better educate the committee as a whole about the repair industry’s issues and concerns.