We'd Like Your Opinion on Upcoming Legislation

On Tuesday, January 9th at 10:30 am in Room A-2 at the State House in Boston, the Joint Committee on Financial Services will hold a Public Hearing on several bills that directly affect the collision repair industry.

Listed below are the bill number, bill title, and the legislator who sponsored the bill along with a brief summary.

The Massachusetts and Rhode Island Affiliate of ASA is structured so that every member has a say in the policy making decisions of your association.  For those of you who submit your comments who are members we will tabulate those responses to guide ASAMARI’s position on each bill.  We will still use the opinions of non members to help us ensure we have the most comprehensive view on issues affecting the industry.


Please read through the following bills and use the form at the bottom of the page or click the button below to give us your opinion, comments, or concerns.


 

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House Bill 2964 sponsored by Representative John Lawn of Watertown

Official Title

An Act providing for temporary emergency licensing of appraisers of motor vehicle damage covered by auto insurance policies.

ASAMARI Staff Summary

This proposal would allow insurers, at their discretion, to request for the appointment of temporary appraisers from out of state when either the Governor declares a state of  emergency or the commissioner of insurance declares a claims emergency.

These may be either a qualified appraiser who is licensed in another state or someone who works as an appraiser in a state that does not require licenses. Once the emergency is over the temporary appointments expire.

Currently under Massachusetts Regulation 212 CMR 2.04 (2) the ADALB Board has the following power:

(2) Temporary Licensing. The Board may grant at its discretion either an emergency or a temporary license to any qualified individual to alleviate a catastrophic or emergency situation for up to 90 days. The Board may limit the extent of such emergency authorization and in any event, if the situation exceeds 30 days, a fee determined by the Board shall be charged for all emergency or temporary licenses.

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House Bill 2168 sponsored by Representative Sean Garballey

Official Title

An Act relative to protecting consumers by providing notice.

ASAMARI Staff Summary

This bill initiates changes to MGL Ch90 Sec. 34R, which requires that appraisals contain a written notice to inform consumers when aftermarket, or non original equipment, parts will be used during the repair or replacement of a damaged vehicle.  

The current law requires this notice to be in 10 point type font.  The proposed bill would increase the font size to 12.

It would also add two sentences as follows:

The use of parts not made by the original manufacturer may void existing warranties.

You have the right to have your vehicle repaired at any repair shop. Your insurer or appraiser shall not require that the repairs to your motor vehicle be made at any specific repair shop.

Additionally it would amend MGL Ch175 Sec113T.  This law allows insurers to offer a policy endorsement whereby the insurer would take control of and be responsible for the repair of the vehicle by using a network of shops they have a contract with.  It also provides that for an insurer to offer this option they must also provide a reduction to the policyholders premium.  

The bill would add a requirement when a policyholder initiates a claim for a repair that the insurer would have to state clearly, verbally or in writing, the following:

Under Massachusetts law, you have the right to choose a registered repair shop of your choice. All registered repair shops must guarantee their repairs.

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House Bill 506 sponsored by Representative Tachey Chan

Official Title

An Act relative to the Auto Damage Appraisers Licensing Board in the Division of Insurance.

ASAMARI Staff Summary

This bill would make major changes to the ADALB.  Currently MGL Ch26 Sec8G requires the Board to consist of 5 individuals; two affiliated with the auto body industry, two affiliated with the insurance companies who write casualty insurance in Massachusetts and a Chairman affiliated with neither.  

The proposal would change the following:

  1. The insurer affiliate would have to be an “employee” of an insurer.
  2. The Chair would have to be an employee of the Division of Insurance.
  3. Board members, other than the Chair, would be limited to two three year terms.  Upon passage of the bill into law all current Board members would be terminated.
  4. Removes language requiring Board to “appoint and executive secretary and two secretaries” and changes the authority to expend funds from the Board to the Division of Insurance.
  5. The Commissioner of the Division of Insurance would also “have authority to approve or to disapprove or to rescind in part or in full any act, rule, regulation, or policy proposed or implemented by the board veto any regulation…” thus making the Insurance Commissioner final authority of spending and decision making for the ADALB.
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House Bill 2171 sponsored by Representative Susan Williams Gifford

Official Title

An Act requiring licensed auto insurance damage appraisers to provide safety notices to the owners of damaged motor vehicles.

ASAMARI Staff Summary

Under MGL Ch28 Sec. 8G a licensed appraiser is required to remove the inspection sticker from a vehicle if that appraiser determines during an appraisal the vehicle no longer meets “safety standards established by the registrar of motor vehicles” or “it may no longer comply with the motor vehicle emission standards…”

This bill would change the requirement in MGL Ch28 Sec. 8G so an appraiser would be required to only issue a “notice” to the owner that the car is unsafe top operate.  They would no longer be required to remove it.

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House Bill 556 sponsored by Representative Mark Paul

Official Title

An Act providing additional consumer protections in the repair of damaged motor vehicles

ASAMARI Staff Summary

This bill initiates changes to MGL Ch90 Sec. 34R, which requires that appraisals contain a written notice to inform consumers when aftermarket, or non original equipment, parts will be used during the repair or replacement of a damaged vehicle.

There are three facets to the proposal.  

  1. It adds the term “generic” parts and states if generic parts are used they can be warrantied by the generic part manufacturer, distributor or insurer.  
  2. It states that all parts manufactured after 2010 used in a repair (OE or generic) must carry sufficient identification of the manufacturer on the part rather than just on the estimate or invoice as current law requires.  
  3. Importantly, it deletes the last subsection of the current law, which states that a violation of this section (MGL Ch90 Sec34R) “shall constitute an unfair or deceptive act or practice.”
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House Bill 477 sponsored by Representative Brian Ashe

Official Title

An Act reforming the process of appraising motor vehicle damage covered by auto insurance policies

ASAMARI Staff Summary

This bill would consist of one sentence that repeals MGL Ch26 Sec 8G.  

The effect would be the elimination of:

  1. the ADALB Board
  2. the requirements that auto damage appraisers be licensed
  3. certain requirements appraisers must currently adhere to, and
  4. the existing regulations for appraisals and complaints (212 CMR).
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