On Monday, June 22, NJ Governor Chris Christie announced that NJ Insurance Commissioner Ken Kobylowski would be stepping down later this summer and that Richard J. Badolato, corporate trial attorney and former NJ Bar president and chairman of the NJ Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics would step into the position.
Kobylowski, who has manned the position since 2012 will officially end his reign in his role as Commissioner on August 1, at which time Badolato will take on the position. Although the potential promise of new perspective in this increasingly important role for the automotive repair industry can be seen as positive, Charles Bryant, executive director for the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ), is not optimistic about this change.
“We have seen the Department [of Banking and Insurance] take sides with insurers over New Jersey consumers with valid issues first hand on far too many occasions to ever think that we can rely on the Department to challenge the might of insurers,” he says. “We have lost confidence in that we will be able to get the Department to support changes that would help resolve the many problems the industry is faced with on a daily basis, no matter who the Insurance Commissioner is.”
While Bryant’s outlook on the coming changes are bleak, he is still holding out latent hope that the new Commissioner will help the industry make the necessary changes for repairers and consumers to thrive and has stated that the association will work fervently and without bias with the new Commissioner to create positive changes in the industry.
“We have had our ups and downs with the Department over the last 30 years,” adds AASP/NJ President Jeff McDowell. “So it’s hard to say what someone new will bring to the table. But we are always happy to at least get a chair at that table. Hopefully that will continue with the appointment of Commissioner Badolato.”
For more information on AASP/NJ, please visit www.aaspnj.org. For more information on the NORTHEAST® Automotive Services Show, please visit www.aaspnjnortheast.com.