Insurers’ Group Urges R.I. Governor to Veto Auto Body Legislation

July 8, 2013

The Rhode Island Legislature passed legislation before adjournment on July 3 that could impact the pockets of Rhode Islanders when they have to pay for auto body repairs, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), an industry association.

The Auto Body Association of Rhode Island (ABARI) proposed HB 5263/SB 465, which PCI said could raise insurance costs and undermine consumers’ rights.

“This legislation could have damaging impacts on Rhode Islanders pockets and purses,” said Frank O’Brien, vice president of state government relations for PCI.

“The total loss bill will permit body shops to deem your car repairable or a total loss. If these bills are signed by Governor Chafee, automobile repair costs would increase dramatically as could insurance rates. The passage of the total loss bill is not a good outcome for consumers or the state,” O’Brien said.

“This is the second year in a row, that almost identical legislation has been pushed by auto body shops. Last year it was vetoed by Governor Chafee, but the bad auto body bills just won’t go away. We urge all Rhode Islanders to stand up and protect their pockets and ask Governor Chafee to veto House bill 5263 and Senate bill 465, just like he did last year.”

The PCI said the other major auto body repair legislative threat this year, HB 5522/SB 472, did not advance. The PCI said HB 5522/SB 472 included a requirement that an insurer must reach an agreed price with an auto body shop, or face possible litigation. The association said this bill would have set Rhode Island apart as being only state in America to require insurers to agree to the price set by a body shop, or to allow the facility to sue the insurer for failing to agree.

Source: Property Casualty Insurers Association of America

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