Insurance

Auto insurance group APCIA tells R.I. lawmakers it doesn't resist certain charges

Repairers struggling with reimbursement of auto repair shop charges might wish to direct the client or the local adjuster or appraiser to comments in the nation’s main auto insurance trade group.

A representative for that American Property Casualty Insurance Association recently described to Rhode Island state lawmakers charges either the audience specifically or the most of insurers found acceptable.

Consumers and repairers ought to be in a position to play the Rhode Island House Corporations Committee hearing May 20 as proof that APCIA members or insurers in general do “purchase that.”

The hearing involved House Bills 6234, which handles charges and markups related to paint and materials and sublet bills, and 6235, which establishes six standards associated with insurer-requested used parts within a collision repair.

APCIA state relations V . p . Frank O'Brien said his group opposed both bills. However, he acknowledged concepts within them that they said either his group or “many” insurers found palatable.

‘Many’ insurers pay itemized paint materials

HB 6234 expands upon an existing requirement within the unfair claims practices statute General Laws 27-9.1-4. that the insurer must “compensate an auto repair shop for documented charges as identified through industry-recognized software programs or systems for paint, body and refinishing materials in auto body repair claims.”

HB 6234 would rewrite this passage to state that an insurer must “compensate an auto body shop for their documented charges as identified through the most current form of automotive industry-recognized software programs or systems for paint, body and refinishing materials in auto body repair claims, including, although not restricted to, programs such as Mitchell’s RMC, PMC Logic, Paint, Micromix, or a paint manufacturer’s programs. An insurer shall not discount documented charges by neglecting to use a system completely, including an automotive industry standard markup.”

O’Brien told the lawmakers “not many” insurers were refusing materials charges today and “many other do pay them.” Those who refuse it begin to see the items as overhead, he explained.

His case against the bill mostly highlighted other aspects of the language, particularly the idea of creating an undefined notion of industry standard markup.

‘Many’ services shops sublet ‘are needed’

O’Brien said the APCIA was “much more concerned” with the final passage put into state regulations by HB 6234, despite agreeing with parts of it. Based on HB 6234, it would be an unfair claims practice if the insurer was:

“It includes an extensive selection of services, many of which we all do concede are needed,” O’Brien said from the paragraph.

He focused his opposition instead on the markup discussed through the text, saying this “could make costs in Rhode Island explode.”

Recycled parts cleanup, suitability OK

O’Brien attacked House Bill 6325 like a “constructive ban around the utilization of recycled parts.”

However, he continued “… We've no difficulties with the provisions from the bill which deal with the use of appropriate parts, spending money on their fit, spending money on them to be finished, all that kind of stuff.”

The APCIA instead opposed the “nonsensical requirements” related to part proximity “as well as the mileage requirements,” O’Brien said.

HB 6325 carries six standards for used parts. O’Brien didn’t go point by reason for his oral testimony May 20, but repairers, consumers and insurers could possibly get a sense of what items the APCIA might oppose and what they “don't have any difficulties with.”

Total loss obligation notification OK

Another major car insurance trade group opposing HB 6324 mentioned specifically they didn’t resist the bill’s new language regarding total losses. To ensure that too may be something repairers, lawmakers and consumers can certainly pursue in other states.

Rhode Island’s current unfair claims practice law 27-9.1-4 says some insurance company who doesn’t want to have a totaled car “must notify the owner of the automobile on paper of the requirements of needing both a salvage title along with a reconstructed title.” It implies the carrier isn’t keeping the vehicle — but it doesn’t show this.

HB 6234 would add a requirement that an insurer “obtain, on paper, the owner’s consent and acknowledgement the insurer isn't retaining the salvage and include an argument of the owner’s obligation and potential costs to dispose of or otherwise support the salvage.”

“We have no objection towards the total loss notification provisions,” National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies Northeast regional Vice President Rory Whelan told the Corporations Committee on May 20. His group opposed another two changes made by the bill, he explained.

House Corporations Committee Vice Chairman William O’Brien, D-North Providence, told the committee hearing May 20 that the new total loss language was meant to address a situation experienced by certainly one of his constituents.

An insurer totaled the constituent’s vehicle and “just abandoned the car in the auto body place,” he said. The vehicle had racked up $1,000 kept in storage fees “the insurer was accountable for,” the lawmaker said.

“That was the main reason I sponsored this bill,” he explained.