Despite overwhelming support from lawmakers in 2020, a bill promoting paint and materials guidelines and scanning and calibration OEM repair procedures was shot down by a New Hampshire House committee this month.
The House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee deemed House Bill 310 “Inexpedient to Legislate” in an 18-0 vote March 9.
HB 310 would have established “a rebuttable presumption that manufacturer recommendations for scans and calibrations are necessary for vehicle safety and for restoration of a vehicle to its pre-loss condition. No insurance company, agent, or adjuster shall knowingly fail to pay a claim to the claimant unless such presumption has been rebutted by evidence that the scan and calibration are not necessary for vehicle safety and to restore a vehicle to its pre-loss condition.”
The shop performing the scan or calibration is permitted to disregard the OEM’s “tooling or equipment” requirements, but they must still “calibrate an advanced driver assistance system meeting or exceeding the manufacturer’s recommendations for scans and calibrations.”
The insurer would also have the burden of proof if they disagreed with a shop’s estimate “based upon independent third party paint and material guidelines used by the repairer.” HB 310 would establish a “rebuttable presumption” that those operations were “necessary to restore a vehicle to its pre-loss condition. No insurance company, agent, or adjuster shall knowingly fail to pay a claim to the claimant unless this presumption has been rebutted by evidence that the paint and material estimate is not necessary to restore a vehicle to its pre-loss condition.”
Both houses of the New Hampshire Legislature passed HB 664 in 2019, only to have the measure vetoed by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu. That OEM repair procedure bill was even broader than the 2020 and 2021 bills, applying to all situations except parts and tools for scanning and calibration.
2020’s HB 1455 — which is identical to this year’s HB 310 — passed the House 216-120 and drew support from the 2020 Commerce Committee. With the 2020 session crimped by the COVID-19 coronavirus response, senators voted to table that measure, a move supported by bill promoters at the time.
Sponsor Rep. Kenneth Weyler, R-Kingston, described challenges during this year’s Commerce Committee Zoom hearing proceedings.
Weyler wrote in an email March 12 that he had difficulties connecting. “I listened to the committee for 20 minutes while trying to join. There was a very confused conversation. Many of the members who voted for it last year were not there. … After I spoke, four lobbyists for the insurance companies spoke, all pushing the same theme. ‘It will make insurance more expensive.'”
“Rep. Weyler had technical difficulties getting in the hearing … on Zoom, so I stepped in to do a very rough presentation as co-sponsor,” Rep. Walter Stapleton, R-Claremont, wrote in an email March 12.
“Apparently, I bombed is maybe why the ITL vote came out that way?”
Featured image: The New Hampshire House is shown Oct. 11, 2013. (kickstand/iStock)