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Insurance Consumer Advocate Network
Applauds Florida's Stand For Consumers

Tempe, AZ (04/17/00) - Bob Crawford, Commissioner of the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, has become the new "Hero" of honest, legitimate collision repair facilities throughout Florida and, indeed, across America. Last Friday, Mr. Crawford issued a "Notice To Motor Vehicle Repair Shops" which advised collision repair facilities of his department's intent to enforce the Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act, the Florida Aftermarket Crash Parts Act and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. This effort by Mr. Crawford's department is expected to have a chilling effect on the auto insurance industry's wide spread practice of mandating the use of inferior crash parts in the repair of consumer's vehicles.

According to the Notice sent out by Mr. Crawford's department . . . "It is illegal in Florida for an insurance company to require the use of aftermarket crash parts in the repair of an automobile unless the parts are at least equal in kind and quality to the original parts in terms of fit, quality and performance".

Since aftermarket crash parts . . . accelerate a repaired vehicle's post-repair reduction in resale value . . . compromise an existing vehicle manufacturer's warranty . . . provide only a convoluted "Pretzel Trail" to enforce any form of its own warranty . . . don't come with an MSDS (Manufacturer's Safety Data Sheet) on any parts (in violation of OSHA regulations) . . . and have been proven to be inferior in open court . . . it is impossible to define aftermarket crash parts as "Equal in kind and quality to the original parts".

Legitimate Collision Repair Facilities throughout America are Grateful . . . the Truth is being heard !

The nation's leading auto insurer was found guilty of criminal fraud in October, 1999 for having mandated the use of aftermarket crash parts. Ever since then, insurance industry lobbyists have Tripled their efforts to sell to legislatures those same old position statements that had already been debunked in open court.

The most vocal in this renewed "Spin" campaign has been Bob Hurns of the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII). The NAII has not only been fighting potential consumer protection legislation in various states, they have also filed suit against states that have already passed such legislation. In effect, the NAII is trying to enable more than six hundred (600) insurance companies to continue to engage in activities defined as illegal by virtue of a Federal Consent Decree entered into by the Department of Justice and more than One Hundred (100) insurance companies back in 1963. The Consent Decree to which we refer can be accessed On-line by going to . . . www.theccre.com . . . clicking on "Know the Law" . . . then clicking on "1963 Consent Decree".

The Insurance Consumer Advocate Network (I-Can), an on-line effort to Increase Consumer Awareness, Encourage Consumer Involvement and supported by legitimate consumer advocates throughout America, has been inviting a free, open and moderated debate with insurance industry advocates. To date, those that have been specifically invited have either declined or refused to respond. I-Can hopes that some legislative committee chair person or other such authoritative entity will entertain the idea of Hosting and Moderating a debate on the issues of . . . After-Market Parts . . . Job Steering . . . Low-Balling . . . Claims Handling Practices . . . Diminished Value Coverage . . . or the necessity of Auto Premium Rate adjustments. These issues are important in the lives of Consumers and deserve a reasonable effort to find the Truth.

Unfortunately, those in the "trenches" who deal with consumers on a daily basis aren't as well funded as those pushing their insurance industry agenda. All we ask is that we be allowed to present our documented truths to legislators around the country in one (or a series of) debate(s). I-Can has the capacity to make this event happen as a Virtual Interactive Debate on-line where legislators could attend and participate without ever leaving their computers.

Those interested in Sponsoring or Moderating such an event are invited to contact Dennis Howard through the I-Can Web site at . . . www.ican2000.com.

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