Monday, 14 June 2021 22:52

Rhode Island Collision Repairers Seek to Clarify Concerns with 2 House Bills

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...it’s some, not all, insurers who have “decided they’re going to cut corners,” leaving auto body shops to eat the cost.


“It’s not fair. We’re not paying auto body shops to do anything other than fix our cars, but we are paying insurance companies to cover the loss,” he said. “It’s time to tell the insurance industry that writes collision insurance, ‘You’ve got to stop this.’ […] This isn’t an anti-insurance bill; it’s a consumer bill. It’s irritating to see people ripped off by this kind of nitpicky practice.”


Frank O’Brien, vice president of state government relations for American Property Casualty Insurance Association, opposed both bills, arguing it “costs more to repair a car in Rhode Island than anywhere else,” and Rhode Island “has more detailed restrictions in place than any other state,” blaming those factors for the high cost of auto insurance in the state.


Referencing House Bill 6235, which he claimed “constitutes nothing less than a constructive ban on the use of recycled parts” as written, Frank O’Brien noted, “While we have no issues with the provisions of the bill which deal with the use of appropriate parts, what we do object to are the nonsensical requirements in the bill which would require and limit our ability to source parts beyond a certain geographic area.”


Objecting to legislation that “keeps diving into the nitty gritty of these issues,” Frank O’Brien added, “Enough is enough with these bills. How far is the General Assembly supposed to get into the weeds with all this stuff?”


Randy Botella, owner of Reliable Collision in West Warwick, RI, argued materials used are not considered overhead; instead, they are materials, such as primer, body filler and buffing pads, meant to be used on a specific vehicle. He also acknowledged most insurers reimburse markup, but the bill is meant to address the matter with those who “won’t adhere to the law.”


The first portion of House Bill 6234 expands on current requirements related to paint and materials charges, updating §27-9.1-4(21) as follows: “Refusing to compensate an auto body shop for their documented charges as identified through the most current version of automotive industry-recognized software programs or systems for paint, body and refinishing materials in auto body repair claims, including, but not limited to...

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