A bill introduced in Ohio is aimed at banning insurance companies from issuing preferred lists of body shops.
House Bill 526, jointly sponsored by Rep. Matt Lynch, a Republican, and Rep. Robert Hagan, a Democrat, would:
Prohibit insurers from requiring a claimant on an automobile insurance policy to have the claimant’s vehicle repaired at a particular repair shop or by a particular person.
Prohibit insurers from recommending or suggesting that repairs of the claimant’s vehicle be completed at a particular repair shop or by a particular person unless the claimant requests such a recommendation or suggestion.
A violation of this section would qualify as an unfair and deceptive act or practice in the business of insurance.
“Many shop owners who are on DRP programs probably would tell you off the record that they would rather not be on them,” said Rick Finney, president of Choice Autobody Repair Association in Cadiz, Ohio. “The most unbelievable thing I see is how the insurance companies have been able to convince shop owners to sign a contract to work for less money per hour and suppress the material charges to perform many labor and refinish operations and not be allowed to charge for them. Also, to take all the liability and hold the insurance company harmless. That’s not to mention do all of their paperwork (photos, estimates, total losses, etc.). And never have to pay the DRP shops a penny for any of these administrative duties even though, in most cases, the collision repair facility must hire additional help to be able to take care of all this extra paperwork.
“The DRP programs have divided our industry which, in my opinion, is what they were set up to do in the first place. If you’re not a DRP for every insurance company, you’re also having work steered away from your shop as well.”