Insurers Criticize Proposed Washington Auto Glass Repair Bill

February 24, 2008

Legislation approved in early February by the Washington House of Representatives is unnecessary and limits consumer choice, according to the American Insurance Association (AIA).

“Policymakers just enacted a law in 2007, SB 5052, that guarantees the right of policyholders to select an auto glass repair or replacement facility,” said Steve Suchil, AIA assistant vice president, state affairs. “The 2007 law requires insurers to verbally inform consumers of their right to select the facility. Insurers must also disclose any relationships they have with a facility. These strong consumer protections should be given time to work.”

The newly proposed law, HB 3053, requires insurers to ask policyholders if they have selected an auto glass shop before making any recommendations. If the policyholder has selected a shop, the insurer may not offer information about other facilities. If the policyholder has not chosen a shop, the insurer must provide at least two names of other nearby and comparable facilities before mentioning a shop on their approved list.

“Consumers will not be able to take advantage of concierge programs or innovative customer service opportunities that lower costs and reduce repair time, while providing proper glass repair,” said Suchil. “Insurers do not have the ability to determine what glass repair facilities are comparable or in reasonable proximity. This bill will limit competition and consumer choice by steering business away from insurer recommended shops.”

The Washington House of Representatives approved HB 3053 on Feb. 4 by a vote of 66 to 31. The bill will now move over to be heard by the Washington State Senate.

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