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Thank you again to all the insurers which participated. (SoberP/iStock)

Top insurers respond to inquiry about notice of aftermarket part recalls, decertification

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Business Practices | Education | Insurance | Repair Operations | Technology

For practical purposes, we’d argue that auto insurers are largely the ones driving aftermarket auto body parts.

Collision repairers prefer OEM for a variety of reasons. Some customers are reportedly surprised to find they traded lower premiums for non-OEM parts. Leases might penalize lessees for returning a car with non-OEM parts.

So what happens when an aftermarket part manufacturer announces a recall, or CAPA or NSF announce a decertification? Does the insurer who pushed for the part notify the policyholder? (Find out CAPA and NSF’s notification policies in these situations here and here.)

We put these questions over the summer to the 11 leading national insurers, from No. 1 State Farm to No. 11 Travelers (once you combine AAA’s segments, it moves up to No. 10.)

Some responded, some didn’t, and we appreciate all of those who did. Travelers referred us to the Insurance Information Institute; we’ve included the III answer as well.

Here’s what they had to say.

Allstate

“Allstate uses CAPA certified non-structural aftermarket parts and we evaluate any issues with parts on a case-by-case basis.”

Farmers

As part of its sourcing process, Farmers Insurance® utilizes aftermarket crash parts that are certified by either CAPA or NSF.  Farmers does not purchase any parts directly, but it does issue payment to either the repair shop or the consumer based on the vehicle’s damage appraisal, and that appraisal includes the cost of parts required for vehicle repair. Farmers vehicle damage appraisals do list the sourcing location for each part, however repair shops have the option of purchasing parts from their own vendors at competitive prices.

As Farmers does not directly purchase parts or control repairs, Farmers does not track parts, lot numbers or part manufacturers. That information may be identified at the distributor level as distributors do possess records for part type, lot number and purchaser.

When Farmers is contacted by a repair facility or a consumer, it does provides assistance in the investigation of claims involving decertified aftermarket parts. In the event that Farmers is made aware of a part that is not the equivalent of the original equipment manufacturer’s part, in terms of kind, quality, safety, fit or performance, then Farmers does comply with state requirements regarding distributor notification.

III

“The independent, non-profit Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) rigorously inspects generic auto parts to assure that the parts meet its standards. Certified parts that no longer meet the standards to which they are certified are subject to decertification. In addition to its certified part listings, CAPA makes its decertified part listings available to the public on its website as well as through a weekly email distribution for anyone who wants to sign-up for them through CAPA’s website.”

“If you need additional information from us, our Issues Update paper is here:

http://www.iii.org/issue-update/generic-auto-crash-parts

Nationwide

“Aftermarket parts were developed as an appropriate alternative to the high cost of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. According to the Quality Parts Coalition, this option benefits consumers by providing an equally effective, safe and lower-cost parts alternative, leading to lower repair costs and lower insurance costs. Nationwide believes consumers deserve this choice and opposes laws that require original equipment manufacturer parts (OEM) to be used when making auto repairs.

“As you stated, Nationwide guarantees to repair any defects on all aftermarket parts specified on an appraisal and used in the repair of a customer’s vehicle for as long as the customer owns or leases that vehicle. Also, in exchange for added premium, Nationwide offers members optional additional coverage that allows for use of new OEM parts in the repair of damaged vehicles. Customers may also choose to pay the difference between the approved specified alternative part and the OEM part.

“The selection of parts on a repair estimate is based on several factors, not simply the type and/or price.  Some of those additional factors may include certification/validation, availability, delivery time to the repair location and several others. Ultimately, the parts used in the repair of a vehicle is a decision between the vehicle owner and repair facility.  Nationwide does not repair vehicles, nor does Nationwide purchase parts for the repair.

“Additionally, Nationwide does not utilize any non-OEM parts targets as part of its relationships with its direct repair network.

“With respect to decertification and/or quality, the potential for this is not specific to aftermarket parts.  There have also been several recent, ongoing, and growing recalls involving original equipment parts.  Generally speaking, many part distributors track part lots and sales to repair facilities and could connect part sales to shops/vehicles.  Again, insurer’s don’t repair vehicles or purchase parts, and as such their attempts could not identify/guarantee which parts were actually purchased and used in the repair.

“My recommendation would be that you look at the repair industry holistically from a perspective of who actually purchases and applies any type of part, as your questions should apply to several part types and not just aftermarket parts.”

State Farm

“State Farm has nothing further to share with RDN at this time.”

Featured image: Thanks again to all the insurers which responded. (SoberP/iStock)