Tuesday, 25 March 2014 20:57

Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association Responds to Unfavorable Vote

The Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association (WMABA) is disappointed with the outcome of the unfavorable decision by the Maryland House Economic Matters Committee on March 13, 2014, for what they believe to be a very important piece of consumer protection legislation.

Despite the vote, WMABA legislative liaisons remain encouraged by Maryland legislators’ reaction to understanding collision consumer issues, as the process and pursuant discussion amply highlighted the workings of the collision industry and how certain claims settlement practices can disadvantage the consumer.

Hearing video shows that the association’s representatives did well to outline the issues, advocate for both the WMABA membership and the consumers they serve, as well as to debunk the myths and contradictions put forth by the opposition. WMABA encourages all repairers to view the video in addition to the voting record and further understand what the opposition said about the collision industry, and the repairers who work in the business.

The collision repairers were represented well by all those who participated in the hearing and work group processes for both the House and Senate committees. Jordan Hendler, WMABA executive director, and Hannah Garagiola, WMABA lobbyist and government relations consultant with Alexander & Cleaver, combined efforts with Maryland collision repair business owners to create an effective team in Annapolis, MD, both prior to and during the legislative session. Repairer business owners participated in these same meetings, and even more throughout Maryland communicated with their representatives just how important this law could have been in protecting Maryland policyholders.

“While this consumer legislation is straight-forward in our opinion, it turned out to be as controversial as medical marijuana and the minimum wage bills,” opined Garagiola. “Legislators typically do a good job of putting themselves in the place of the consumer, but opposition tactics to promulgate lies and kick up dirt can be hard to overcome. Given how close this year’s efforts came to fruition, I think the groundwork has been laid, and there are good opportunities to succeed with the same language—and some added ammunition—in future sessions.”

During the entire process, only Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund (MAIF) had supplied any documentation for actual cost to the insurance market, whereas all others just threw out generalized statements of inevitable premium raises.

For more information, email Jordan Hendler or call 1-804-789-9649.

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