In January, Indiana state Sen. Mark Messmer introduced Senate Bill (SB) 164, which contains anti-steering language aimed at insurance companies and body shops.
The bill unanimously passed the Senate Jan. 30 and moved quickly through the Indiana House Committee on Insurance. On Feb. 28, it returned to the Indiana Senate, with amendments, by a vote of 83-13. The Senate balked at the House amendments and filed a motion to dissent in early March.
One amendment, adopted by the House Insurance Committee, would allow a work-around for insurers by recommending adherence to “industry standards” as an alternative to the vehicle manufacturer’s repair procedures. The amended version of the bill states that a repair is not defective if it conforms to the OEM repair specifications or “generally accepted industry standards.”
In light of the amended language, the Collision Division Operations Committee of the Automotive Service Association (ASA) has reaffirmed ASA’s position endorsing the use of required OEM service procedures when such procedures are available.
During their regular monthly meeting, committee members discussed several legislative initiatives being monitored across the nation, including SB 164 in Indiana.
“Our industry has evolved from one of generic repairs that could be applied to virtually any vehicle to one of OEM-specific procedures that are make- and model-specific,” said Scott Benavidez, ASA’s Collision Division director. “We believe that strictly adhering to OEM repair procedures is critical, not only for the safety of our customers, but also to protect ourselves from potential litigation. By attempting to equate undefined ‘industry standards’ to OEM procedures, we jeopardize the shop and the consumer if the repair doesn’t perform as intended.
“Collision repairers and consumers should not be put in such a position where legislators are defining a safe and proper repair. This fight is far from over, but it’s our understanding this bill is dead for now. It’s a possibility that the amendment language will resurface in the future, and ASA’s [Collision Division Operations Committee] will continue to monitor all legislation to ensure the interests of ASA, our members and the collision repair industry are represented.”
ASA’s positions on the issue and others are clearly listed and available for reference on the ASA website. ASA has a long-held a position on OEM standards, locking in a board-approved policy that states:
“ASA supports the required use of OEM service procedures for all structural repairs when such procedures are available.” – ASA Official Position Statement 1.27