NCOIL Kills Model Crash Parts Bill
Multiyear Grassroots Effort Pays Off
In a déjà vu moment, the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) put to rest the proposed Model Act Regarding Motor Vehicle Crash Parts and Repair. NCOIL has wrestled with this issue for the last several years in conferences and annual meetings across the United States. This was not their first stab at resolving the issue of regulating aftermarket crash parts. During the 1990s, NCOIL attempted to develop crash parts policy proposals for state legislatures but opted to put the issue aside only to return in the last few years with a similar struggle.
The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has testified before the NCOIL Property-Casualty Committee, written NCOIL members and worked with ASA collision members in a grassroots effort to kill what has been an ongoing effort to equate certified aftermarket crash parts with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts and an effort to promote pro-consumer legislation that failed to adequately protect the consumer. Throughout the process, various drafts and amendments to the model parts act included several themes that ran counter to the needs of consumers and collision repairers. ASA sought to highlight the following three points for NCOIL policymakers:
• Provisions regarding aftermarket parts certification should be eliminated.
• The consumer-written consent process for the use of replacement crash parts requires additional language.
• Provisions equating certified aftermarket crash parts to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts should be deleted.
ASA joined a coalition of other automotive associations in opposition to the NCOIL Model Act for Motor Vehicle Crash Parts and Repair. A letter sent by the coalition to NCOIL clarified that although the model act has been brought to the committee before, it has more opposition than ever, far beyond the letter's signatories alone.
The letter also clarified that the signatories oppose the amendment introduced by Rep. Brian Kennedy, D-R.I., because of its similarity to the amendment offered by Rep. George Keiser, R-N.D., that had been voted on and defeated in the NCOIL annual meeting in Austin, Texas, last fall: "This amendment falsely presumes that a certified part will restore a vehicle to its pre-loss condition and falsely equates that part to an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) part, since the pre-loss vehicle in almost all instances would have OEM parts."
The letter can be viewed in its entirety on the ASA legislative website, www.TakingTheHill.com.
At the 2010 Automotive Service and Repair Week (ASRW), a parts certification panel convened to discuss issues regarding Aftermarket Crash Parts Certification. With NCOIL's interest in crash parts certification, ASA sought to bring together the top experts on crash parts certification to help determine the best policy for collision repairers. The panel included the Certified Aftermarket Parts Association (CAPA), a former consultant for Taiwanese parts manufacturers, the Automotive Body Parts Association, an automobile manufacturer and an aftermarket crash parts certification consultant. Many issues were raised during the panel by our collision shop owner leaders, including:
• The lack of effectiveness of parts certification to date.
• No clear agreement on what parts certification should include.
• CAPA is not the only parts certification entity. We have seen a proliferation of parts certifiers in recent days.
• If crash parts are certified, this role should be assumed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which already monitors original equipment manufacturer parts for safety.
• No clear agreement on whether consumers and repairers benefit from parts certification.
• Certification programs should include tracking and recall functions.
• No agreement on who should set the certification specifications.
• Who is to certify parts? What state agency will ensure that certification entities are conducting themselves in a manner that adheres to policy goals and professional standards?
At the National Conference of Insurance Legislators spring meeting in Washington, D.C., ASA presented these repair concerns to the Property-Casualty Insurance Committee. The committee voted down the proposed Model Act Regarding Motor Vehicle Crash Parts and Repair.
ASA members had contacted state legislators who serve on this committee asking them to oppose the proposed model act. Committee members at the Washington, D.C., meeting first accepted an amendment that stated "certified aftermarket crash parts shall be presumed to be capable of restoring a vehicle to its pre-loss condition." This amendment was offered by Kennedy. ASA opposed the Kennedy amendment; the amendment passed by one vote. The Property and Casualty Insurance Committee followed by defeating the model parts act.
It appears the model act is dead for the immediate future. This does not preclude state or federal legislators from moving forward with similar legislation in their respective legislative bodies. ASA will continue to oppose parts legislation that does not include an adequate written consent process for consumers or attempts to equate certified aftermarket crash parts with OEM parts.
For more information about the aftermarket crash parts issue, go to www.TakingTheHill.com.
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