Associations Working to Enact State Laws on OEM Procedures, Right to Appraisals

With nothing getting done at a federal level to address some collision repair issues, associations are working with state lawmakers.

Dan Risley, right, who was announced as incoming chairman of the Collision Industry Conference, stands with the past chairs who attended the meeting in Seattle.

Bob Redding, chairman of the Governmental Committee of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC), drew laughter from CIC attendees in Seattle in mid-April when he polled the audience to ask: Do you think Congress is doing a good job at getting things done? Almost everyone in the room, 95% of those responding, said no.

“It’s pretty evident that this has not been the most impactful Congress in history,” said Redding, who serves as a lobbyist for the Automotive Service Association.

Bob ReddingBob Redding, chairman of the CIC Governmental Committee.

He pointed to legislation that Democrats and Republicans worked together to enact in 2017 to provide the auto industry with guidelines related to research and development of autonomous vehicles –- a subject federal lawmakers have since failed to further agree on in the intervening years, leading to a patchwork of state-by-state regulations.

“If the federal government doesn’t do something, some or all the states will fill the void, and that’s what we’re going to talk about here,” Redding said, kicking off a panel discussion related to state collision repair associations’ legislative efforts.

‘Right to Appraisal’ Sought

Jill Tuggle, executive director of the Auto Body Association of Texas, said ensuring a consumer’s right to an appraisal when there’s a disagreement about the amount of an auto policy loss is one of her association’s key legislative priorities.

“We’ve submitted that [legislation] twice in Texas, and it’s going to be high on our agenda for 2025,” Tuggle said. “When the right to appraisal was removed from some insurance policies, we were able to get the attention of the Texas Department of Insurance. It was kind of an ‘uh-oh moment’ for them that they realized that they let these policies kind of sneak through.

“It is outlined on their website that they believe that the right to appraisal is a consumer right, but it is not anywhere on the legal books in Texas,” Tuggle continued. “Luckily, between the DOI and the Office of Public Insurance Council, they kind of put their thumb on that, but in the meantime, we do need to get some legislation passed. So while we will still be submitting our safe repairs bill and championing that all the way to the finish line, the right to appraisal is going to be something that we put extra effort into.”

That “safe repairs bill” would have prohibited an insurer from disregarding any repair operation or cost identified by an estimating system, or any procedure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Tuggle said she was surprised by the opposition to the legislation from the alternative parts industry.

Jill TuggleJill Tuggle, executive director of the Auto Body Association of Texas.

“We removed any OEM-parts-only language from the bill a couple sessions ago, so it’s been several years since we’ve had anything like that in there,” Tuggle said.

She said member shops often tell her they can make more money using non-OEM parts if those parts have been tested “for the same tensile strength, weight and fitment, [so that shops] had a little bit more peace of mind that the parts would fit properly and crash the same way. So standards are really the only thing parts-wise that enters into our bill language.”

She said she truly believes shops “have the power to change policy both on the state and national level” if they use their voice as someone who lives and works within their legislators’ district.

“Oftentimes, our opposition has very deep pockets, and it would take years and years for us as independent repairers to pool the money and resources necessary to get some of the meetings that they get very easily,” Tuggle said. “But the one thing that they don’t often have is constituents in the [lawmakers’] district. And so when they go down to the state Capitol to testify in opposition of our bills, they are often flying in from other states.

“Legislators do care about their constituents, and they do know that when the session is over, they have to go back and look you in the face,” she continued. “They have to see you at the barbecue joint, and they have to answer to you on why they voted against something that is very important to your business, or voted for something that hurts your business. And so I would say using our voice is the most important thing that we can do.”

Puzzled by Opposition

Another panelist, Washington state shop owner Jeff Butler, said he too was puzzled by some of the controversy earlier this year over the Washington Independent Collision Repair Association’s proposed legislation calling for the use of OEM repair procedures and giving policyholders the right to call for an independent appraisal when there is disagreement about repair costs.

“The committee chair, Rep. Amy Waylen, owns dealerships, and she decided to oppose the legislation,” Butler said. “We’re a little confused as to why that’s happening.”

He said federal standards have made cars safer, so it’s not clear why there is debate about fixing them to the standards to which they were built.
“There’s a roomful of us here talking about how to fix a car,” Butler said. “And yet we have to try to pass a law in order to be able to do that?”

He said another lawmaker had sponsored the right to appraisal bill because his family had personal experience with an insurer refusing some repair costs after his wife’s parked car was hit.

Butler said his own claims consulting business has prevailed in 14 short-pay disputes that went to mediation.

“The average short-pay was $6,000, and some were $12,000,” he said. “This is not good faith. This is just not how business is supposed to be done. But it’s happening with some carriers. And let’s be fair: There’s bad actors in every segment of life, right? There are bad repairers. We’ve all seen that.

“So I’m not naming any names or saying the insurance industry as a whole is wrong, because that’s not true,” Butler continued. “There are good insurers out there doing the right thing. But this kind of behavior needs to change, which is why the laws need to change to ensure the right to appraisal exists in every policy.”

New CIC Chairman

Also at CIC in Seattle, Dan Risley of CCC Intelligent Solutions was named as the new chairman of CIC. Prior to joining CCC in 2018, he spent five years as executive director of the Automotive Service Association. He was inducted into the Hall of Eagles, the collision industry's hall of fame, in 2022.

“I know Dan is very passionate about our industry, he’s given of himself to an immense extent, he’s very energetic and driven, and he gets things done,” Darrell Amberson, who has served as interim chair of CIC the past several months, said in making the announcement.

Risley follows Frank Terlep of Opus IVS, who served one year as CIC chair.

The CIC chair is chosen by a committee of those who have previously served one or two years as its chair since CIC was founded in 1983.

The conference is held quarterly in locations around the country. The next meeting is July 10 in Denver, CO.

John Yoswick

John Yoswick is a freelance writer and Autobody News columnist who has been covering the collision industry since 1988, and the editor of the CRASH Network... Read More

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