Insurers Fight for Non-OEM Parts In Mass.

June 5, 2000

Massachusetts insurers are fighting a recent determination by that state’s Auto Damage Appraisers Licensing Board (ADALB) that competitive auto parts are not of like kind and quality, saying it will cost consumers if it not reversed.

The ADALB has been conducting hearings on the “availability and safety” of all repair parts, including original equipment manufacturer (OEM), competitive aftermarket parts, rebuilt or salvage. “Testimony to the board from national experts demonstrated the safety of competitive parts. Several studies, most recently by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), have demonstrated that these parts provide quality and safety in auto body repair,” said James Harrington, American Insurance Association vice president, northeast region.

In releasing their results earlier this year, the IIHS found that claims about cosmetic parts from sources other than original-equipment manufacturers compromising safety are “red herrings intended to frighten people.”

“Competitive replacement parts bring down the cost of auto repairs and auto insurance. If the carmakers enjoy a monopoly in the replacement part market, prices will soar,” Harrington said. “The board’s decision, which cannot be supported by facts, must be reversed. It would serve Massachusetts residents better if the ADALB focuses on its statutory obligation of licensing and policing qualified auto body shops. It is the board’s obligation to protect consumers from shoddy workmanship, not to take action to increase their costs.”

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