MABA Legislation Recommended by Financial Services Committee - BodyShop Business
Connect with us
Close Sidebar Panel Open Sidebar Panel

News

MABA Legislation Recommended by Financial Services Committee

Advertisement

The Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Financial Services
recently gave a favorable recommendation to several bills that the
Massachusetts Auto Body Association (MABA) had filed for the current
legislative session. In addition, the Committee favorably recommended a
key labor rate bill drafted by the AASP-MA/RI chapter, with assistance
from the Central Mass Auto Rebuilders Association and support from MABA.

Click Here to Read More
Advertisement

MABA had filed nine separate bills on issues ranging from arbitration
to shop equipment requirements, steering and labor rates. Of the nine,
five were either favorably reported or combined into other redrafts
that were reported favorably. MABA called it an “unprecedented success”
for the advancement of collision repair-related bills favored by
collision repairers and collision repair associations. A sixth bill
dealt with labor rates, but at a hearing last year, MABA endorsed the
AASP-MA/RI labor rate bill and asked the Committee to take no action on
its own.

Advertisement

MABA spokesman Stephen Regan credited much of the success to two main
factors: the professionalism that the association showed over the years
through its participation in the legislature’s “Auto Body Working
Group” and the united front and strong working relationship of the
state’s three collision repair associations. He also credited the
legislators who participated in the “Working Group” and spent a great
deal of time listening to both sides, evaluating all the facts and
following through on their commitment to their constituents to make the
necessary changes to resolve the multiple problems facing the collision
repair industry.

Advertisement

“If there is one message or lesson I hope all collision repairers and
their associations take from this success, it’s that you must remain
professional at all times, no matter how long it takes or how difficult
the environment has become, when dealing with your elected officials
and state officials,” said Regan. “You also need to offer legislative
language as your solution and not just complain about your
circumstances.Legislators are much more likely to evaluate a proposal
you’ve presented to them and act on it, rather than listen and take
information and draft their own proposal.

Advertisement

“In addition, I believe that the solidarity shown by the three state
associations on so many of the issues truly impressed the legislators
and regulators we were lobbying. I know we all have some differences of
opinion and philosophies but we kept them private so as not to give our
opponents any advantage. I think when MABA publicly supported the
AASP-MA/RI labor rate bill over its own legislation, it showed how
unified we were and that it wasn’t about ego or authorship but about
supporting each other and using the best solutions to the problem, even
when it’s another’s idea.”

Advertisement

The timing of these bills receiving a favorable report by the Committee
and becoming eligible for a vote on the House floor couldn’t have been
better, according to MABA. MABA has been in the process of hosting four
regional legislative forums where state Senators and Representatives
were invited to meet with repairers in their districts to hear about
the problems those repairers are having and to get the legislators to
support their legislative proposals.

H.B. 1085 is the comprehensive Labor Rate bill, which would establish a
Commission that would set a minimum labor rate to be paid by insurers
to repairers based on the national average labor rate adjusted for
Massachusetts’ cost of living.

Advertisement

H.B. 1051 would provide the strongest anti-steering language ever
drafted by adding insurance agents to the list of those who shall not
steer, making steering an Unfair Claim Settlement Practice and
providing specific monetary fines not less that $100 or more than $500
for each steering offense. The bill further provides that insurers must
recognize and use the manual that a repairer has used to create a
supplement request, allow a repairer to mandate that an insurance
appraiser complete a supplement on the premises during the negotiation
and allow a shop, at its discretion, to send a supplement request
electronically with digital photos.

Advertisement

H.B. 1049, which also received a favorable recommendation by the
Committee, was drafted with the intent of incorporating into
Massachusetts law relevant portions of the 1963 Consent Decree, which
is an agreement between 250 insurers and the United States Department
of Justice to avoid an anti-trust lawsuit filed against insurers by the
federal government. The bill would specifically prohibit insurers from
directing state-licensed appraisers from following insurer guidelines
instead of state regulations, steering and, most importantly, dictating
what parts and procedures are used during a repair and the prices that
are paid to repairers for parts, services and labor.

Advertisement

“Getting these bills out of Committee with a favorable recommendation
is a great first step, but still just the first step,” said Regan. “We
will now need to contact our legislators to obtain their support in
making sure these bills are voted on.  Then and only then will we get
the much needed positive changes that these bills can bring to our
industry.”

For more information, call (800) ITS-MABA.

Advertisement
Connect
BodyShop Business