The Auto Body Association of Connecticut (ABAC) returned from summer break on Sept. 26 when nearly 100 attendees gathered at the USS Chowder Pot IV in Hartford, CT, where they received updates on the association, learned about future plans, and enjoyed a presentation on “Creating a Non-Negotiable Final Bill,” delivered by Scott Simmons of CollisionAdvice.
ABAC President Bob Amendola kicked things off by thanking attendees and sponsors for their continued support and attendance before introducing ABAC Legal Counsel, Attorney John Parese, who provided an update on the industry’s efforts to preserve the 1963 Consent Decree. Parese explained, “The 1963 Consent Decree is the culmination of litigation the United States Department of Justice initiated against insurers to prevent insurance companies from conspiring with one another and to essentially do all of the nonsense we are seeing today. The Decree sought to prohibit, for example, much of what we see in today’s DRP network schemes, price-fixing, steering, labor rate suppression, etc. - all the stuff independent collision shop owners are still battling today.”
“The Consent Decree was the result of the DOJ’s settlement with insurers. It was an agreement to stop doing these things and has been the law of the land for some time. Now, in the Trump administration’s push to deregulate businesses, the DOJ is looking to terminate the Consent Decree,” Parese continued. “We obviously want to save this law because it protects repairers. So now, we are back at it on a national level, trying to save this law, and we will do everything we can.”
Next, ABAC Lobbyist Andy Markowski of Statehouse Associates, LLC encouraged attendees to support the association’s work to save the 1963 Consent Decree. “What we’ve heard tonight is right on the money. You can’t do it alone. Your Board of Directors can’t do it alone. You all know about the industry we’re up against - the money, the power, the number of lobbyists and the employees of the insurance industry has, and the amount of influence they have; however, we have the ears and the minds of some key politicians that have taken the time to understand your collision repair industry and are willing to go to bat for you,” Markowski stated.