The Connecticut Senate’s Joint Committee on Transportation recommended last month passage of a bill that would strengthen Connecticut’s existing steering law. Senate Bill 288 states, “No insurance company doing business in this state, or agent or adjuster for such company shall recommend, request or require any insured to use a specific person for the provision of automobile physical damage repairs, automobile glass replacement, glass repair service or glass products.”
The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) submitted written testimony in opposition to the bill to the Joint Committee on Transportation. Under current law, insurers and appraisers are prohibited from requiring that auto repairs be made at a specified repair facility. S.B. 288 would extend this prohibition to include requesting or recommending a particular repair shop to consumers. The bill defines the terms “recommend, request or require” as “any act to influence a consumer’s decision” to choose a repair facility.
“The bill expressly prohibits an insurer from even mentioning the benefits a consumer may receive through its direct-repair program,” says Paul Magaril, regional manager and counsel for PCI. “The type of price fixing permitted under this bill would benefit repair shops at the detriment of consumers.”