The MTA SA / NT says South Australians can expect better repairs to their vehicle and greater transparency from insurers after new laws came into effect on 28 February 2023 mandating the national Motor Vehicle Insurance and Repair Industry Code of Conduct.
Any business operating as a motor vehicle insurer or repairer must comply with the code, regardless of whether they are a signatory to it. There are financial penalties for breaches, with the South Australian Small Business Commissioner required to report on disputes and outcomes each year.
“Insurers will now be compelled to resolve disputes with repairers quickly and fairly, to get motorists back on the road sooner,” said Darrell Jacobs, CEO of the MTA SA / NT.
“Repairers want to service their customers in the best way possible, and this initiative assists in making sure repair work does not compromise on safety and the vehicle is returned to pre-accident condition.”
Further reforms are expected to be enacted from June 2023, requiring insurers to inform policyholders whether or not their vehicle insurance product allows for choice of repairer, and if the insurer has a financial or contractual relationship with a repairer that they may be referred to during the claims process.
“Motorists have the right to know where they can get their vehicle repaired,” said Jacobs. “Many consumers are surprised to learn their vehicle insurance does not allow them to choose their local or preferred repairer.”
The MTA SA / NT says it strongly lobbied both major South Australian political parties, as well as all minor parties and independents, to pass the legislation.
“It strengthens the state’s reputation for levelling the playing field for small, medium and family-run collision repair businesses, as well as promoting greater consumer choice and transparency,” said the association.
Andrea Michaels, South Australian Minister for Small and Family Business and Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs, said: “Navigating the world of car insurance after an accident can be a minefield, and it’s important that the system is as fair as possible.”