Conn. Bill Extends Steering Ban to Include Auto Glass Repairs

Under a new proposal in Connecticut, insurers would be required to tell policyholders that they have a right to go to any shop for glass repairs and replacements, broadening a current steering ban that is enforced for auto damage appraisers.

HB 5072 was passed by the state House Tuesday and received its first “favorable report” in the Senate Thursday, putting it on full Senate’s schedule for further consideration.

The House vote was 107-38.

Under the bill, any claims representative from an insurance company or third-party claims administrator is required at the outset of communicating with a policyholder about glass repairs to tell that policyholder “about his or her right to choose where to have the work done,” according to a legislative analysis.

In the analysis, lawmakers said that the policyholder should be told something similar to the following phrase: “You have the right to choose a licensed glass shop where the damage to your motor vehicle will be repaired. If you have a preference, please let us know.”

The practice of insurance companies or claims administrators providing the name of particular repairers without letting them know they could take their car to any shop, or setting an appointment with them without informing policyholders, is called “steering.” Anti-steering measures typically draw fire from insurance providers who typically have a network of repairers they trust for repairs and claims-related work, although consumer advocates say steering hurts businesses who aren’t included in such networks.

If a repairer is recommended for glass works, according to the bill, “at least one other shop in the area” is required to accompany that recommendation.

A similar glass-related proposal became law last year in South Carolina, where legislators and Gov. Nikki Haley lent strong support to HB 4042. That bill sought to break up the “unfair trade practice” of car insurers only recommending repairers within their own network.

Other anti-steering efforts occurred in Kentucky and Rhode Island, the latter of which was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

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