Monday, 06 February 2017 22:31

IACA Cultivates Relationship with Local Legislators

Written by Chasidy Sisk

Jan 24 Leg meeting1

 

For the past year, the Idaho Autobody Craftsmen's Association (IACA) has focused most of its energy on developing and cultivating relationships with the ID Department of Insurance (DOI) and local legislators.

IACA President Matt Thornton stated, "We've had several productive meetings with the DOI as we strive to develop an open relationship and educate them on industry issues."

 

Explaining that these attempts date back over a year, Thornton explains that the association introduced a bill in early 2016 that would make it illegal to disregard the p-pages during a repair, a practice that many insurance companies tend to follow. According to Thornton, "The insurance industry didn't know we existed as an organization prior to that, but we got their attention and they complained to our legislators, who convinced us to withdraw the bill and allow the DOI to referee meetings with the insurance industry so we could try to find common ground."

 

Knowing their bill had little chance of success, the association withdrew it and focused its efforts on building credibility with legislators. In 2016, IACA held seven meetings with the DOI, legislators and the insurance industry. Thornton reported, "We've made some progress by getting the DOI to issue memorandums to the insurance companies; these memorandums are less hassle than bills, which are extremely expensive and time-consuming."

 

Jan24 leg meeting2

 

"The most notable achievement from these efforts is that we've acquired a seat at the table for the collision repair industry during these discussions," Thornton said proudly. "Now, they know they have to deal with us and even agree that these meetings should have taken place years ago. By gaining credibility, it appears we'll be able to accomplish some of if our initiatives without legislation. We've received positive feedback on this ongoing project, and we are learning to deal with and build a relationship with the DOI and the insurance industry."

 

On January 24, IACA hosted a meeting with ID legislators to help them understand the industry, and nearly one-third of the state's legislators were in attendance. "We made a lot of headway helping legislators understand our concerns by inviting them into our shops to demonstrate the frequency of supplements and what it takes for us to get paid," Thornton said. "The legislators responded well to this show-and-tell, but it's a bigger issue than they originally believed.

 

"It's difficult for people outside the industry to understand the industry's complexities, but our legislators are starting to comprehend the depths of our concerns. Meanwhile, the insurance industry has been surprised that we've been able to come together as a group and introduce legislation which is the association's main focus."

 

Although legislation is IACA's primary initiative, the association still recognizes the importance of providing education to its members, and they schedule two estimating seminars each year to facilitate this training to their rural members who are more apt to attend these local sessions, which require less travel, time and expense. The association typically has 30-50 people at these sessions and is currently evaluating options with the intent of hosting an estimating seminar this spring and another in Fall 2017.