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Thursday December 20

USAA Reaffirms Commitment To CAPA-Certified Parts

SAN ANTONIO _-- USAA, the nation's sixth largest automobile insurer, has announced that it is reaffirming its commitment to using only aftermarket crash parts that carry the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) seal.

"We've looked objectively at the alternatives and frankly, CAPA's certification process is the only process out there that meets our standards for quality, non-OEM replacement parts," said Butch Viccellio, President of USAA's Property and Casualty Insurance Group.

"The standards of some of the other organizations we've looked at just don't measure up to the quality USAA members expect." This commitment may come as no surprise to many, as Viccellio has served as CAPA's chairman of the board since 1999. But Viccellio is quick to point out his first commitment is to USAA members.

"Admittedly, I know quite a bit about CAPA's stringent process," added Viccellio. "But make no mistake, USAA wouldn't use CAPA parts if the necessary steps weren't being taken to ensure that quality replacement parts are available. CAPA is still the only organization that puts both the manufacturing process and vehicle parts through a rigorous certification process, taking steps to ensure the parts actually fit on vehicles. The major automakers don't even go this far with their replacement parts."

USAA's policy on replacement parts usage and the rights of its policyholders is clear. While allowing its members the final say in parts selection, USAA recommends the use of CAPA-certified replacement parts or parts complying with federal standards whenever they are available. Otherwise, OEM replacement parts are the choice. This policy applies to vehicles more than two years old, and carries a transferable replacement warranty.

A strong advocate of both marketplace competition among aftermarket manufacturers and rigorous certification processes, Viccellio has personally researched other programs offering certified parts, most recently Global Validators' Manufacturers' Qualification and Validation Program (MQVP). "MQVP is trying hard to enter this marketplace and is focused on the right outcome," added Viccellio. "But it seems clear to me that process certification, parts testing standards and pricing structures are areas where they need some additional work. For now, our USAA membership is better served by continuing our exclusive use of OEM and CAPA-certified aftermarket parts."

USAA has been serving military families since 1922 and offers its 4.7 million members a comprehensive range of insurance, banking and investment products and services designed to help them meet their financial needs. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, with offices throughout the United States and Europe, USAA owns or manages assets of more than $62 billion.

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