Senate Bill 2679 would expand non-OEM parts prohibition to 48 months, require OEM repair procedures.

Rhode Island Senate Bill 2679 is scheduled for a hearing tomorrow, May 8 before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Automotive Service Association of Massachusetts and Rhode Island (ASAMARI) executive director Steve Regan is planning to testify on behalf of their members in favor of the bill.

“Whenever legislative or regulatory matters come up for debate we poll our members and take a position based upon the results,” said Regan.  “In this instance our membership has taken an overwhelming position in support of the bill, which requires consumer consent for use of aftermarket parts and most importantly, would make it illegal for insurers to require a repairer to use repair procedures that conflict with OEM recommendations for repairs.”

The legislation is supported by collision repair associations, ASAMARI and the Auto Body Association of Rhode Island (ABARI), and has been opposed by insurance associations including the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).  The bill would amend Sections 27-10.2-1 and 27-10.2-2 of the Rhode Island General Laws in Chapter 27-10.2 that address “Motor Vehicle Body Replacement Parts” regulations.

Current law states:

Whenever an insurance company, in adjusting a first party claim for motor vehicle physical damage, intends to specify the use of aftermarket parts, it shall notify the insured in writing. Any auto body repair shop conducting business in the state of Rhode Island shall not use non-original equipment manufactured (OEM) parts, also referred to as aftermarket parts, in the repair of any person’s automobile, without that person giving the repairer his or her express written consent.

The current provision that both insurers and collision repair shops must provide a written notice to consumers would be extended to match the 48 month part restriction and that it applies to any collision damaged part, not just body parts.  The proposed legislation would also add a section addressing the use of OEM repair specifications and procedures that states:

No insurance company may require any repairer to use repair specifications or procedures that are not in compliance with the recommendations of the original equipment manufacturer for those parts.

“Repairers all learned a hard lesson when John Eagle Collision of Dallas was sued for repairing a hail damaged roof with glue rather than using Honda repair specification resulting in a $42 million settlement,” said ASAMARI’s Regan. “It has been alleged that the insurer pressured John Eagle to use the alternative procedure and passing this legislation into law would eliminate that from becoming an issue in the future,” he concluded.

The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, May 8, in Room 313 in the State House.

ASAMARI is one of 18 state and regional affiliates of the national trade association Automotive Service Association (ASA). The Automotive Service Association is the largest not-for-profit trade association of its kind dedicated to and governed by independent automotive service and collision repair professionals. ASA services an international membership base that includes numerous state affiliate and chapter groups.

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