Insurance Intrigue: Washington lawmakers insist on coverage of OEM procedures

Seattle, Washington — February 18, 2020 — State lawmakers in Washington have passed a bill that would require insurers to cover OEM repair procedures, or provide proof of their reasoning for not doing so.

House Bill 2782 requires auto insurers to cover OEM procedures on vehicles insured under their policies.

The move had been opposed by representatives of the Northwest Insurance Council, an industry association.

The group argued the bill would significantly increase insurance costs, which would be passed on to policy-holders.

Washington repairers may be afforded some additional legal protection by the bill’s passage into law. Previously, across the U.S., not following OEM procedures had put repairers in legal jeopardy.

In past cases, courts have found repairers responsible for ensuring that automobiles are repaired using OEM procedures if they are available.

In a 2018 judgement, Williams v. Sharon Woods Collision, a court of appeals in Ohio has upheld a decision that found a bodyshop responsible for $100,000 of injury damages after a sedan was deemed to have been improperly repaired.

In a unanimous verdict, the First District Appellate Court decision in favour of the driver adds a significant amount of weight to the legal opinion that bodyshops are liable for damages in cases where they have not followed OEM procedures.

While U.S. legal decisions have no bearing on Canadian law, their findings can be cited in court.

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