y of insurers and repairers in the process.
U.S. Rep. Jackie Spier, author of the anti-steering code, penned an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle against A.B. 1200, saying that her 2003 anti-steering code is meant to protect consumers from what she believes are low-cost, low-quality repairs promoted by insurers.
Spier claims that A.B. 1200 would undermine that consumer protection by allowing insurance companies to “pressure” consumers into choosing insurer-preferred shops, even if a consumer has already chosen a repairer.
Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, who authored A.B. 1200, countered with her own piece, claiming her bill “serves to provide consumers with more choices so that they may make an informed decision when considering auto body repair shops.”
Hayashi noted that in 2003, the state Bureau of Automotive Repair reported that 42 percent of the vehicles it inspected had fraudulent parts or labor listed on the repair invoice. She also claimed that body shops have a vested interest in maintaining “inflated” repair prices and noted that Spier’s former chief of staff, Collision Repair Association of California (CRA) lobbyist Richard Steffen, is part of an ongoing “disinformation campaign” against her bill.
“Assemblywoman Hayashi is trying to steer legislators with the help of insurers,” said Steffen. “Her op-ed doesn’t mention that major consumer protection organizations are opposed to her effort (click HERE to read more), but she does mention me go figure.”
A.B. 1200, sponsored by the Personal Insurance Federation of California, was amended again this week by the Senate. The amendment removes an introductory section added to the bill earlier this summer (click HERE to read more) and states that “an insurer may provide the claimant with specific truthful and nondeceptive information regarding the services and benefits available to the claimant during the claims process.”
A legislative hearing on auto body repair fraud will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 25, at 2 p.m. in Room 126 of the State Capitol, Sacramento. The CRA says it will request an opportunity to testify before Hayashi, who runs the Assembly Business and Professions Committee.
The California Autobody Association (CAA) also opposes the bill and is asking its members to send letters to their legislators urging them not to pass it (click HERE to read more).
To read Spier’s op-ed in full, click HERE.
To read Hayashi’s op-ed, click HERE.
Click HERE for the text of A.B. 1200 and legislative updates.