Breaking News about Car Insurance

Ariz. and SC Lawmkers Try to Limit Steering in Glass-Repair Industry

splitting windshieldBills currently being considered by the Arizona and South Carolina legislatures would put in place anti-steering laws related to motor vehicle glass repair.

The bills would keep glass-repair shops or third party administrators who have an ownership interest in a glass-repair shop from referring or steering business toward the facility that they’re associated with.

They would also be barred from soliciting repair business from car owners based on information obtained during the claims process.

As with most steering bills, the authors’ aim is to maintain policyholders’ choice when getting their cars fixed after a claim and to level the playing field for repair shops in the state.

But the insurance industry says beefing up the states’ anti-steering laws would make the repair process less streamlined and that the move could ultimately end up increasing the average cost of car insurance in Arizona and South Carolina.

“This bill would severely limit auto insurers’ ability to choose business practices that best serve their customers, limit choices available to consumers for repairing damaged auto glass and potentially increase costs that impact insurance premiums,” said Bob Passmore, the senior director of personal lines at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), in a statement.

PCI says consumers benefit from insurers’ ability to recommend shops and to use direct repair programs where coverage providers have a list of preferred shops that they suggest to policyholders. These partnerships generally work so that insurers get lower repair costs while the shops get a steadier flow of business.

The industry group contends that these practices make it easier for insurers to match consumers up with reputable shops and to contain costs.

The South Carolina House of Representatives voted to pass its bill in a 104-1 vote, and it is now in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.

The Arizona legislation has not seen any votes so far.

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