Motor vehicle insurance companies will no longer be identifying spare parts for their clients’ vehicles after an accident, if a petition filed at the High Court succeeds.
The petition by Mr Allan Gikendi states that the practice by insurance companies to identify parts for their clients’ vehicles, so as to maximise profits, has led to cars getting low quality service.
Mr Gikendi, who filed the petition on March 27, has named the Attorney-General, the Insurance Regulatory Authority and the Kenya Motor Repairer Association as respondents.
“Recently, insurance companies under the very watch of the respondent have overstretched their mandate beyond the permissible limit and adopted a scheme of controlling the repair process through dictating which spare parts repairers should use and or where to source for the parts. This scheme adopted by the repairers has inevitably caused chaos in the repair process as repairers have been forced to use substandard parts since insurers insist on cutting costs to maximise profits,” states Mr Gikendi in his petition.
He argues that auto repair is a highly technical field and insurers cannot be seen to have expertise in determination of suitability and quality of body parts of motor vehicles.
“Given the lack of expertise in determining suitability and quality of a body part on a motor vehicle, the insurer can only guarantee suitability of such body parts by sourcing for original genuine parts from the manufacturers or from their authorised dealer and not from second-hand shops and or sourcing for used parts. The quality and suitability of second hand parts in auto repair can only be determined and guaranteed by the repairer, given their expertise,” reads the petition.
He argues that since the Consumer Protection Act, 2012, provides that a repairer warrants all new and second-hand parts installed for a minimum of 90 days or 5,000 kilometres, whichever is earlier, body parts — unless original from the manufacturer — cannot be guaranteed by a repairer.
“The actions by the insurers of sourcing for parts without the involvement of the repairers and the consumers and or motorists is tantamount to an illegal and unorthodox amendment of the provisions of section 55 and section 5 of the Consumer Protection Act No 46 0f 2012,” he argues.
“The lack of complaint by motorists is not a justification for such scheme as adopted by the insurance companies as the motorists do not have the technical know-how of complex auto repair and further the quality of work not being external cannot be judged by such a motorist with no technical know-how of what comprises quality and thus putting the motorists in a weak bargaining position.”
He says that some insurance companies have also opened assessment yards where repairers are sent to assess damage and give quotations for repairs and the job given to the lowest bidder.
“Inevitably, repairers are forced to quote lower in order to get the work and consequently they are forced to use substandard parts in order to compensate for the reduction in prices at bidding stage, thus compromising on the interest and particularly safety of the motorists,” reads the petition.
The petition is premised under the Consumer Protection Act, which heavily protects vehicle owners from the excesses of repairers.
The petitioner is accusing the Insurance Regulatory Authority of neglecting its duty to protect motor vehicle owners.
The hearing is set for July 30.