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The Ohio House of Representatives is considering a bill, H.B. 527, that would prohibit auto insurers from "requiring, recommending or suggesting" that a claimant have a vehicle repaired at a particular repair shop or by a particular person unless the claimant requests a recommendation or suggestion.
The bill’s author, Rep. Raymond Pryor, told Columbus newspaper the Daily Reporter that he’s aiming to make the collision repair process more efficient and level the playing field for non-DRP shops.
“I think (H.B. 527) is important for free enterprise, for business,” he said. “You don’t have to be a big body shop and have dozens of employees to be a good body shop.”
Pryor said that two shop owners in his district suggested the legislation and claimed that Nationwide often steers work in the region to DRP shops through its Blue Ribbon Repair Service. A Nationwide representative told the newspaper that the company believes in giving consumers "informed choices," but that forcing customers to use particular shops is against company policy.
"Nationwide fully supports informed choices by customers and supports laws protecting the customer’s right to all information about repair shop options," Nationwide spokesperson Elizabeth Stelzer said. "Nationwide strongly believes that all customers should be free to have their vehicle repaired at the collision repair facility of their choice."
Stelzer also noted that the Blue Ribbon Repair Service program provides customers with a written guarantee for labor and parts, and the Blue Ribbon program and other DRPs "ease the claims process by giving customers quality options designed to get them back in their vehicles more quickly."
Read the text of H.B. 527 and track its status