PIFC strongly believes that state government should empower insurance consumers to make informed choices about how to repair their vehicles without coercion from anyone (whether insurers or auto body shops). PIFC believes in creating a sensible repair system accomplishing the twin aims of keeping premiums low for consumers while ensuring high-quality, safe auto repairs.
Examples of PIFC’s efforts in this area include:
Providing Consumers with Options for Auto Repair Facilities, PIFC successfully passed legislation in 2009 (AB 1200/Hayashi) allowing informed consumer choice of auto repair facilities. The legislation was signed into law over the objections of auto body shops, car dealers and trial lawyers, and ensured that consumers have access to “truthful, non-deceptive information” about the benefits available to them during the insurance claims process.
Car Owners Bill of Rights when Vehicle Towed, in 2010, PIFC successfully passed legislation (AB 519/Solorio) establishing a consumer bill of rights helping drivers whose vehicles are towed. This measure, opposed by the car dealers, also ensured that consumers understand all their towing charges, including legitimate service charges by car dealers who arrange the towing.
Ensuring High-Quality, Safe “Generic” Repair Parts, PIFC continues to look for ways to lower the cost of auto repairs and keep insurance premiums low for consumers. The best way to do this is to ensure the availability of safe replacement parts. Just as there are generic drugs which are as safe as name brand drugs, there should be a safe source of auto parts that are less expensive than those manufactured by the big car-makers. This would keep the cost of insurance lower for consumers.
Trial lawyers have accused insurers of being so greedy and motivated by saving money that they would knowingly support the use of “cheap” and “imitation” alternative parts that put drivers in danger of malfunctions and crashes. PIFC hopes to work with these trial lawyers to craft a trusted certification process for “generic” auto parts that keeps repair costs low while ensuring auto repairs are as safe as those using “name brand” parts. Such a system would deliver cost savings to consumers just as generic drugs have saved patients countless dollars.