ASA recently announced its support of NH House Bill 664. The bill states, “An insurer shall reimburse a repairer for all repairs if a repairer follows original equipment manufacturer-recommended collision repair procedures, recommendations or service bulletins while repairing a vehicle.”
ASA Washington D.C. representative Bob Redding wrote in a letter to the committee: “House Bill 664 addresses an issue of concern for consumers and repairers. The Seebachan v. John Eagle Collision Center decision reminded collision repairers of the importance of having proper repair procedures. The original equipment manufacturers’ (OEM) repair procedures are the logical repair processes to be followed.”
On the other hand, Tony Lombardozzi, president of the Coalition for Collision Repair Excellence (CCRE), believes, “This bill looks good on the surface but has some hidden flaws if you read the language carefully. You have to read into the wording to understand what they’re saying, and this wording favors insurers---there’s no other way to read it.
“First off, take the word ‘reimburse.’ It seems to make a lot of sense, but now they’ve put the repair shop as the provider to the insurer, which leaves the vehicle owner out of the equation. The contract between the shop and the consumer is a separate contract from the one between the consumer and the insurer. Insurers do not reimburse repair shops; they’re supposed to either pay or reimburse their insureds for the actual cost of the repairs. Period.
“An insurance policy is not a reimbursement policy. It’s an actual cash value policy based on indemnification. Talking about reimbursement rates gets us away from policy indemnification, and it turns policies into a schedule of benefits, which they are not. This bill would turn the collision shop into a supplier of services to the insurer if they follow OEM guidelines. When shops become a supplier to the insurer instead of the consumer, consumers get left out of the triangle. You cannot serve two masters.”