Thursday, November 21, 2013

Michigan ASA group seeks to address insurance company programs.

ASA-Michigan Votes to Take Action Against Insurer Mandates

Nov. 21, 2013—The Automotive Service Association of Michigan (ASA-Michigan) recently voted to pursue efforts to stop the use of certain insurer mandates, including State Farm’s PartsTrader program and Most Favored Nation (MFN) clauses in their home state.
The board called a special meeting for the vote after concern from collision shop owners was expressed at the Collision Repair Forum in Lansing, Mich.
“Our board has heard from collision repairers all over the state asking our association to work with policymakers to stop the use of MFN clauses and the mandate of the State Farm PartsTrader program in Michigan,” said Ray Fisher, president of ASA-Michigan. “In addition, the Michigan board immediately updated its position statement from 2002, which addressed open platforms for estimating to be all-inclusive.”
The statement, according to Fisher, now reads: “ASA-Michigan has always believed in a free market business environment for the automotive service repair industry. ASA-Michigan condemns any mandates made by an insurance company that impact the freedom of choice by a licensed automotive repair facility when servicing their customer.”
MFN clauses are anti-competitive clauses that put both consumers and collision shops at a disadvantage by guaranteeing a customer will receive prices that are at least as favorable as those provided to other buyers of the same seller for the same products or services. Michigan has already banned the use of MFN clauses by health insurers.
“Collision repairers in Michigan have echoed what ASA is hearing in other states—that the State Farm PartsTrader program and Most Favored Nation clauses are two insurer mandates that go too far,” said Dan Risley, ASA executive director. “ASA saw this same collision repairer reaction with insurer-owned shops several years ago and we witnessed it again at the ASA-Michigan meeting; there are boundaries in protecting your business and these two insurer mandates cross those boundaries.”

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