The Collision Repair Association of California (CRA) is continuing its campaign to eliminate potentially unsafe aftermarket bumper reinforcements from body shops and insurers’ damage estimates.
CRA held a press conference last week with I-CAR instructor Toby Chess and Assemblyman Dave Jones to demonstrate the difference between an aftermarket bumper reinforcement and its OEM counterpart and to alert consumers that insurers looking to cut costs could be calling for potentially unsafe parts in estimates.
In a demonstration televised by FOX40, Chess used an electric saw to cut through an aftermarket bumper reinforcement, but the saw was barely able to penetrate its OEM counterpart. The report described the aftermarket bumper parts as “cheap parts from Taiwan and China.”
The TV station advised consumers to check collision repair invoices for the term “OE,” warning consumers that they may have a “fake part” installed if “OE” doesn’t appear on the form.
FOX40 also reported that State Assemblyman Dave Jones is calling on the Department of Insurance (DOI) to recall vehicles with aftermarket bumper reinforcements installed.
“There’s many body shops out there that definitely need to be reprimanded and need to step up. And if they do a recall, they should eat the liability,” CRA President Lee Amaradio told the TV station.
CRA also announced this week that it hand-delivered a letter to Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner asking that he enforce state law by requiring insurers to either stop putting aftermarket reinforcement bars in damage estimates, or else warrant to the claimant that the aftermarket bar is as good as high-strength steel bars produced by OEMs. CRA believes it’s the responsibility of insurers, not repairers, to determine whether an aftermarket part is OEM-equivalent.
“There is no mystery to the law,” CRA Executive Director Allen Wood wrote. “It clearly requires insurers to warrant that the aftermarket part is at least equal to OEM. Therefore, Commissioner Poizner, show us you can lead by enforcing current law. The CRA has yet to hear if the commissioner or his staff understands that the burden of proof on the worthiness of aftermarket reinforcement bars falls on the insurer.”
CRA says this is the third letter the group has sent to Poizner asking him to take action on potentially unsafe aftermarket structural parts.
CRA’s actions stem from a demonstration by Chess at the January Collision Industry Conference demonstrating the difference between OEM and aftermarket structural parts. Chess’s demonstration has created a domino effect of reactions from parts manufacturers and distributors, repairers and insurers.
See the TV report on aftermarket parts