Minnesota Legislation Halted

One form of Minnesota legislation was not on the House Commerce Committee agenda at last week’s meeting and the Alliance Automotive Service Providers of Minnesota (AASP-MN) expressed its displeasure.

The AASP-MN made a proposal to make it an unfair claims practice for an insurance company to refuse payment for a repair procedure that is called for by an original vehicle manufacturer. According to the AASP-MN, that proposal was pulled from the House Commerce Committee agenda last week. Since it was not on the agenda and not discussed, its opportunity for passing in the current legislative session has ended.

The bill, also referred to as H2234, sought to clarify an insurer’s obligation to assume all costs for the “satisfactory repair” of a vehicle includes completion of vehicle repairs consistent with OEM specifications.  However, after two meetings with representatives of the insurance industry and an exchange of proposed amendments, the repair industry refocused its attention to adding a new provision to the unfair claims practices established at Minn. Stat. § 72A.201.

The new language would have made it an unfair claims practice for an insurer to deny payment for repair operations and procedures performed in accordance with the original vehicle manufacturer’s documented technical procedures. The proposal would not have changed the current law regarding the types of parts to be used in the repair of a damaged vehicle.

Minnesota’s legislation regarding insurance claims practices does not mention auto glass repair or replacement specifically. This is unlike New Hampshire’s new bill, H664-FN, as it excludes auto glass repair and replacement services.

H2234 was scheduled to be heard on March 15 during the House Commerce Committee meeting. But the day before the meeting, the alliance was contacted by the bill author, who shared concerns regarding the lack of agreement between the insurance industry and the repair industry, according to the alliance.

The chair chose to pull the bill from the agenda to continue discussions.

“While it was disappointing to have the bill pulled just hours before the hearing, the author, Representative Richardson, has indicated a willingness to secure additional time with Chair Halverson to more thoroughly brief her on the importance of AASP-MN’s proposed change.  There has also been discussion about having an “informational hearing” in order to better educate the committee as a whole about the repair industry’s issues and concerns,” a portion of the association’s release reads.

AASP-MN worked closely with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Automotive Service Association and Society of Collision Repair Specialists, who provided counsel and prepared letters and supporting documentation prior to the hearing.

“We want to maintain those good working relationships and expand our network of contacts at the Capitol in hopes of pressing forward with this issue in the coming months. We will continue to work with legislators to push this approach and provide context,” said Kevin Walli, AASP-MN lobbyist.

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