The Motor Vehicle Insurer and Repairer Code of Conduct has been updated and will be enforced across all States and Territories from 1 May 2017.
In New South Wales the changes will be mandated - for instance the finalisation of the determination process, with the ability for a dispute to be resolved in a binding decision. The NSW Government will appoint neutral parties to conduct mediation and determinations of disputes to facilitate the process.
The Code of Conduct Committee (CAC) believes that by building on the existing IDR/EDR dispute model the industry can continue to work constructively together to resolve issues in the knowledge that more complex problems have a place to be heard and adjudicated.The new version will also tighten up requirements for code approved assessors and creates the new Code Approved Estimators. This will also include minimum training and experience requirements for estimators and assessors.
As part of the CAC's ongoing work to assist the industry improve its community reputation, the code will also require individuals to report deliberate actions that compromise vehicle safety to regulators as soon as they are identified.
NSW deputy premier and minister for small business John Barilaro said the code would play a vital role in lifting industry standards by reducing the amount of disputes between insurers and repairers, while allowing for further transparency in insurance assessments and repair work.
Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) Executive Director, Geoff Gwilym, said the changes follow on from the previous update in early 2016 and, in part, capture VACC members’ concerns about ‘grey areas’
within the 2016 Code. More work is expected on further reviews.
Chairman of VACC’s Body Repair Division (BRD), Morry Corvasce, is pleased the May 2017 Code picks up on
feedback gathered by its body repair division (BRD), including repairer and consumer insights collected during the 2016 BRD road trip across Victoria.
“Ongoing negotiation with insurers, and other collaborative committee work undertaken by BRD and VACC’s
industry policy and divisions Leader, John Guest, has been the catalyst for change,” Corvasce said. “The changes include finalising the Determination process, with the ability for a dispute to be resolved in a binding decision.”
VACC’s Vice Chair, Carly Ruggeri, says the updated Code builds on the existing IDR/EDR dispute model. “As we understand it, the updated Code will assist the industry to continue to work constructively together to resolve issues, in the knowledge that more complex problems have a place to be heard and adjudicated,” Ruggeri said.
Gwilym is buoyant that the new Code also tightens up requirements for Code Approved Assessors and creates the new Code Approved Estimator saying this will give the community confidence the industry is training and developing people, and continuing to improve repair knowledge.
Another change relates to vehicle assessment delays and allowable emergency repairs. This is part of CAC’s ongoing work to help industry improve its community reputation, and assist in enhancing the efficiency of repairs and safety of vehicles on our roads.
VACC Industrial Relations Advisor, Ben Kunstler, is one of three Motor Trades Associations of Australia (MTAA)
representatives on CAC. He says the changes have been the result of numerous meetings and demonstrate the effective approach CAC takes to solving complex industry issues.
“The new Code creates a number of new concepts and improvements, and CAC will be monitoring the operation
carefully to ensure it continues to deliver for industry,” Kunstler said.
It is important to note that CAC has worked closely with NSW Government Ministers, and the NSW Small Business Commissioner, Ms Robyn Hobbs, thanks them and recognises their assistance and contribution.
The NSW Deputy Premier, Mr John Barilaro, has announced that the new Code will be added to legislation in that State as soon as possible, updating the 2006 version. CAC and its constituent members (MTAA and the Insurance Council of Australia) will be communicating with the industry to ensure the changes are understood.