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Rhode Island House Passes Body Shop Classification Bill

H.B. 5491 would classify collision repair facilities into “A” and “B” categories and spell out rules for insurers’ labor rate surveys.

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The Rhode Island House passed H.B. 5491 on June 9, a bill that would classify collision repair facilities into “A” and “B” categories. A Senate version of the legislation, S.B. 783, passed the Judiciary Committee on June 4.

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Class A shops would have to meet the following requirements:

  • Comply with all requirements for licensure
  • Be certified by at least one automobile manufacturer for the repair and refinishing of aluminum and high strength steel
  • Provide a written lifetime warranty
  • Provide evidence of certification of all technicians

To be eligible for Class B certification, a shop must be fully licensed and establish it has met all requirements of the state auto body licensing board.

Another portion of the bill states that insurers must conduct a separate and distinct labor rate survey for each classification of shop annually to determine a separate and distinct prevailing labor rate for each classification. Plus, the bill spells out a variety of rates insurers cannot use in that survey, including rates from DRP shops. The survey must also divulge its methodology, including the number of shops surveyed and a description of the formula or method used to calculate or determine the specific prevailing rate reported. However, an amended part of the bill now states that insurers will not be required to establish the prevailing rate for each classification of body shop based solely on the survey results.

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