Legislators Debating Labor Rates in Massachusetts
Sept. 22, 2021—Massachusetts state legislators spent part of last week debating auto body labor rates, the Lowell Sun reported.
Local shop owners, along with the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Massachusetts, are in favor of several bills related to labor rates, including H 1111 from Rep. James Hawkins, which would require that insurers reimburse auto body shops at a minimum rate equal to the rate at the time the Insurance Reform Act passed in 1988, adjusted for inflation. Afterward, the rate would be adjusted based on the Consumer Price Index.
Speakers during the Joint Committee on Financial Services meeting argued in favor of the bill, referencing Massachusetts' low average rate, which currently stands at about $40 per hour, the report said.
“In 2010 when I opened my business, insurers were reimbursing consumers a labor rate of $40 an hour. Eleven years later, the same insurers are reimbursing consumers the same labor rate of $40 an hour,” Brian Bernard, owner of Total Care Accident Repair in Raynham, told the committee. “Eleven years with a zero percent increase in that rate. In the same period, your insurance premiums have increased 48 percent.”
The hearing will likely not be the last time the topic of auto body repair labor rates is debated. In the fiscal year 2022 budget, the Legislature established a special commission to study auto body rates.