Information to claimants
The amendments require that the insurer provide the claimants with the name, address and phone number for the repair facility, copies of all estimates, a list of all parts used in the repair, and the final repair order. The language will also require the insurer to disclose to the claimant any information it has regarding damage to the vehicle not covered by the insurance claim and to disclose the use of any non-OEM replacement crash parts.
These amendments would specify that when the insurance policy covering the claim does not provide for the use of OEM parts that the claimant has the right to request the use of OEM parts in the repair at the claimant's expense.
New language would require that all repairs comply with current regulatory standards and that all repair facilities comply with all I-CAR, industry and Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) standards and requirements. It is expressly stated that repairs must be in compliance with manufacturer recommendations and specifications.
Any violation is subject to Insurance Code section 758.5 enforcement powers.
Insurers are expressly prohibited from requesting that a claimant change, alter or waive any legal rights, expressly prohibited from indemnification agreements and expressly prohibited from preventing a repair facility from communicating with a claimant.
Despite the amendments, The California Autobody Association (CAA) remains opposed to AB 303 and continues to seek support for the bill's defeat. CAA's "legislative alert" to collision industry professionals remains in effect. A sample letter written by the CAA, designed to be sent to Senator Speier and members of the Senate Banking, Finance and Insurance Committee, can be found here. No hearings regarding AB 303 have been set at this time.
Opposition builds against AB 1852: bill to eliminate disclosure of non-OEM parts usage
A second major legislative issue in play is the CAPA-sponsored AB 1852 (Yee) which a would declare that once non-OEM parts are certified by a state-approved certifying agency, they would be deemed like kind and quality to OEM crash parts. Furthermore the bill would set up state licensing for parts certifiers and require body shops to report defective parts to the state on a daily basis. It also proposes the repeal of Section 9875.1 of the California Business and Professions Code, which requires consumer disclosure before insurers may specify the use of non-OEM parts. (ABN, March 2006)
This bill also includes a number of other new proposals, including new procedures for recalling defective parts, requiring the disclosure of country of origin of both car company brand parts and certified parts; increase warranty protection for certified parts; and a web site for consumers to access the latest certified parts list. The bill would also prohibit penalties on any person leasing or financing a vehicle who repairs the vehicle with certified non-OEM collision repair parts.
Once again, CAA is seeking grassroots help from members of the collision industry, requesting that letters be mailed or faxed to the Assembly Business and Professions Committee Chair Assembly-member Gloria Negrete McLeod, with a copy to each of the committee members.