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Mass. bill would eliminate insurance appraiser licensing process, ADALB

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Associations | Insurance | Legal

A bill before a joint Massachusetts Legislature committee today would throw out the state’s auto damage appraiser licensing board and rules regarding appraisers in the state.

Since nothing else would replace these, based on the bill language, we appear to be talking about a situation where insurers could hire any warm body to start appraising cars without any oversight or profession regulation.

Amazingly, this not only has a sponsor, Rep. Brian Ashe, D-Longmeadow, but two co-sponsors: Reps. Leonard Mirra, R-West Newbury, and Chris Walsh, D-Framingham. The bill title calls it “reforming” the appraisal process.

House Bill 778, which will be heard in the Joint Financial Services Committee at 11 a.m. today, simply states:

“Chapter 26 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 8G.”

8G creates the Automobile Damage Appraiser Licensing Board and other rules regarding appraisers and their licensing. Take a good look at the current language — it might not be around much longer.


Other Massachusetts coverage


The Massachusetts Alliance of Automotive Service Professionals will be attending the hearing to talk about its House Bill 857, Executive Director Jillian Zywien wrote in an email.

Presumably, they’ll be opposing the ADALB bill, as they’re supporting another ADALB reform bill, HB 816, which would change the makeup of the board itself. That bill isn’t yet scheduled for a hearing as far as we can tell.

As for HB 857, it twice stresses to consumers their right to pick their own auto body shop.

Once would be a 12-point-font statement on every estimate which includes non-OEM parts. It would read:

“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.”

Another must come verbally or in writing during the “initial interaction” between a customer and an insurer who has “participating repair shop programs or endorsements” (a likely reference to direct repair programs, though it seems as though it could include any insurer recommendation). The company must say or write:

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

HB 857 also tweaks the language (and increases its point size) on estimates with non-OEM parts.

Right now, Chapter 90, Section 34R (b) of the Massachusetts General Law says such estimates must in 10-point type state:

“The repair estimate is based in part on the use of replacement parts which are not made by the original manufacturer of the damaged parts in your vehicle. Warranties, if any, applicable to these replacement parts are provided by their manufacturer or supplier rather than the manufacturer of your vehicle.”

Now, it’d say in 12-point type:

“The repair estimate is based in part on the use of replacement parts which are not made by the original manufacturer of the damaged parts in your vehicle. Warranties, if any, applicable to these replacement parts are provided by their manufacturer or supplier rather than the manufacturer of your vehicle. The use of parts not made by the original manufacturer may void existing warranties.”

That message would continue with the the shop choice wording described above.

Other bill

Zywien seemed to indicate the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure meeting Tuesday at 1 p.m., might be worth a look too.

The main event there for collision repairers and auto insurers likely is HB 3810. It appears to be a rival to HB 857, as it tells consumers that non-OEM parts probably won’t void warranties due to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

It requires all new-car dealers to tell consumers in 10-point type:

“The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 USC 2301 et seq. , makes it illegal for motor vehicle manufacturers or dealers to void a motor vehicle warranty or deny coverage under the motor vehicle warranty simply because an aftermarket or recycled part was installed or used on the vehicle or simply because someone other than the dealer performed service on the vehicle. It is illegal for a manufacturer or dealer to void your warranty or deny coverage under the warranty simply because you used an aftermarket or recycled part. If it turns out that an aftermarket or recycled part was itself defective or wasn’t installed correctly and it causes damage to another part that is covered under the warranty, the manufacturer or dealer has the right to deny coverage for that part and charge you for any repairs. The Federal Trade Commission requires the manufacturer or dealer to show that the aftermarket or recycled part caused the need for repairs before denying warranty coverage. ”

Be heard: Massachusetts legislature contact information can be found here.

Featured image: The Massachusetts State House and Beacon Street are shown. (Stephen Orsillo/iStock/Thinkstock)