Alliance Hails DC Reg. Promoting Use of Aftermarket Auto Parts

June 4, 2003

The Alliance of American Insurers issued a bulletin indicating that proposed changes to the District of Columbia’s auto insurance regulations “would assure the use of quality generic aftermarket replacement parts, thereby improving quality while helping insurers keep claims costs in check.”

The Alliance noted that “the proposed change would prohibit an insurer from requiring the use of a generic aftermarket crash part that wasn’t certified by an approved independent third-party when repairing damaged vehicles.” It called the move “a significant step forward,” but also recommended that the proposal “be amended so that certified aftermarket crash parts would be ‘presumed to be of like kind and quality’ to original equipment manufacturer parts.”

Kirk Hansen, Alliance director of claims noted: “This presumption of equality directly addresses the unfair insurance trade practices issue that has been the basis of many class-action lawsuits related to aftermarket parts.” Neil Malady, manager of the Alliance’s Mid-Atlantic Region, added, “As a way to keep the cost of repairing damaged vehicles in check, the Alliance has supported the use of certified generic aftermarket crash parts for many years.” The Alliance said that a study, done several years ago, “demonstrated that car company parts cost 60 percent more than generic parts.”

“However, the reason we support certification is because it ensures that these parts are equivalent to or exceed the original equipment manufacturer’s part in terms of fit, finish, quality and performance,” Malady continued. To become certified, a part must pass stringent tests by an independent laboratory to assure that it is equal or superior to its car company counterpart. The only difference is price.

The Alliance also stressed that “A majority of consumers are content with certified replacement parts. A Public Attitude Monitor survey conducted by the Insurance Research Council found that a majority of survey respondents stated they would have confidence in the quality of a part certified by the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA). Certified parts also more often than not have received higher ratings than car company parts in blind parts demonstrations at Collision Industry Conference (CIC) meetings. The attendees of the meetings are primarily owners of automobile body repair shops.”

“During 2000, CAPA received complaints on only 0.04 percent of the more than 1.75 million parts it certified,” Hansen noted. “This is a record of quality that is unrivaled in any industry and is better than the original equipment manufacturers themselves.”

“Since 1982, the Alliance has conducted numerous automobile parts studies using a variety of makes and models to demonstrate the excessive cost of car company parts. The cost of rebuilding a vehicle with costly car company parts generally triples a car’s original cost,” the bulletin concluded.

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