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Monday, 16 September 2019 19:50

NH Voices: Lawmakers Should Support Consumers and Car-Repair Bill Override

Written by Sens. Dan Feltes and Kevin Cavanaugh, and Reps. Ed Butler and Kermit Williams, Union Leader


For over two years, a bipartisan group of lawmakers studied how consumers’ cars were repaired following a collision, how the insurance system reimburses the consumer for those repairs, and in the process, crafted House Bill 664 to keep drivers in safely repaired vehicles.


Over two-thirds of the New Hampshire House and the entire Senate voted to pass HB 664 — a strong coalition of Republicans and Democrats.


When Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed this popular legislation, his appointed Insurance Commissioner, John Elias, declared himself as the sole protector of consumers — but in doing so ignored the findings of people directly elected to represent you: your state representatives and state senators. His arguments have been long on insurance lobbyist talking points and very short on reality.


Let’s look at the facts.


For 24 months, your local elected officials listened to consumers, independent collision repair experts, car manufacturers, parts companies, the New Hampshire Insurance Department and insurance companies. They found that to be sure your car is properly repaired, safe to operate, and most importantly, returned to “pre-loss condition,” the state, which is guaranteed by most collision policies, repair shops often need to follow the repair recommendations of the auto manufacturers. If they do follow that expert advice, the insurance company needs to cover the cost of that repair procedure. It’s that simple.


Today, when you bring your wrecked car in for repairs, some insurance companies will push for you and your repair shop to ignore certain safe repair procedures. It sounds unbelievable, but one example is companies denying post-repair computer scans that make sure all the complex collision avoidance technology in your car is working properly. That scan is like getting an x-ray after your broken arm has been set, to make sure it came together properly. Skipping it may mean that you will get unpredictable and dangerous behavior from those advanced safety features.


Because the bill doesn’t increase body shops’ labor rates, your premiums should not increase. New Hampshire’s auto insurance premiums are low because our independent shops are already so competitive.

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