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A mandatory “smash repair” code of conduct agreed to by insurer and repairer trade groups will govern New South Wales auto body shops and carriers effective May 1.
The Australian state, which announced the code Friday, said provisions included minimum experience and training criteria for insurance assessors and auto body estimators and mandatory reporting of unsafe repairs.
Any disputes will be mediated and ruled upon by “neutral parties” appointed by the New South Wales government, the state said Friday.
“We’ve all heard the horror stories about car owners losing out in long drawn-out disputes between insurers and repairers following an accident or, in some cases, finding themselves at the mercy of a minority of rogue operators in the industry who have delivered little more than shoddy repairs,” Deputy Premier and small business Minister John Barilaro said in a statement.
“This new Code of Conduct aims to change all and rebuild confidence in this multibillion dollar industry.”
The government’s news release said he expected greater transparency in both insurer and collision repair industries.
“This is another example of this Government reducing red tape and will help consumers avoid getting caught in the middle of disputes between insurers and vehicle repairers,” Minister for innovation and better regulation Matt Kean said in a statement.
“This initiative will also help consumers by improving the dispute-resolution process, which means car owners will get their vehicles back sooner.”
Australasian Paint & Panel indicated Friday the code was the same as the voluntary national collision repair code of conduct, the 2016 version of which can be found here. New South Wales just went an extra step and made it mandatory.
An auto body representative and others in an automotive trade group from the state of Victoria praised the code to Paint & Panel.
The code nationally will be administered by three representatives each from the Insurance Council of Australia and Motor Traders Association of Australia; the trade groups worked on the code along with the Office of the New South Wales Small Business Commissioner and New South Wales Fair Trading, according to the New South Wales government.
New South Wales is Australia’s largest state and houses Sydney, the country’s largest city. The state has 4,200 automotive service and repair businesses.
Requests to the various parties involved for a copy of the code were unsuccessful.
New South Wales, March 31, 2017
Australasian Paint & Panel, March 31, 2017
Featured image: The New South Wales Parliament building is shown. (trigga/iStock)