Collision repairers have been experiencing pressure from insurance companies for decades and it is with great anticipation that we welcome the Economic and Finance Committee’s inquiry into the collision repair and insurance industry.
The Economic and Finance Committee’s Chair, Sam Duluk MP and Member for Waite, has said that the inquiry’s ultimate aim is to shine a light on practices within the industry which will hopefully lead to improvements in the relationship between collision repairers and insurance companies while giving consumers a choice about where they can take their vehicle to be repaired. It is also important that consumers are getting what their insurance policy has told them they will.
Mr Duluk said on ABC Radio Adelaide, “This inquiry is vital to sorting out these issues.”
“We need to mandate a Code of Conduct that will govern the conduct of both insurers and collision repairers.”
The current voluntary Code of Conduct has been a useful tool to improve the visibility of insurer conduct, however, with loosely interpreted Terms of Reference and no penalties for breaches, the Code can be difficult if not impossible to enforce.
Mr Duluk indicated that there will be protections for repairers who want to provide evidence to Parliament on an anonymous basis should they wish and is very good news for members who fear negative consequences from insurance companies should they speak out.
Collision repairer and MTA Member, John Dayman from Shannahan Crash Repairs said, “There are many grey areas in the industry and consumers don’t have a choice.”
Insurers must also be held accountable for enforcing unfair terms and conditions and arbitrarily changing estimates, not only on repairers but consumers as well.
Mr Duluk indicated that the Small Business Commissioner’s role should ensure that consumers are treated fairly and that there should be penalties for those insurers and businesses that do the wrong thing by their customers.
Mr Dayman said, “It (the inquiry) has been a long time coming. The MTA is there for our business and provides the support we need.”
“We need a regulated industry where the consumer can choose their repairer.”
A member of the public who texted in to the ABC Radio Adelaide’s Mornings program said there is too much corruption in the industry from both sides which Mr Duluk replied, “That person needs to come forward and provide evidence. All South Australians will be better off. We need it (the industry) to be regulated.”
The MTA is holding an information session for collision repair members on the 30th of July at MTA House, 81 Greenhill Road. To attend this meeting, click here to contact our Industry Engagement Specialist, Paul Back.We strongly recommend that you attend this information session as it will provide you with more information on the inquiry and how you can play an important role in this inquiry.