Indiana Anti-Steering Bill Amended into a ‘Nightmare’ for Auto Body Shops

Indiana Anti-Steering Bill Amended into a ‘Nightmare’ for Auto Body Shops

What started out as a bill containing “some good things” for body shops and consumers in the Hoosier State has become “a nightmare,” the president of the Indiana Auto Body Association (IABA) said.

The Indiana House of Representatives chamber

What started out as a bill containing “some good things” for body shops and consumers in the Hoosier State has become “a nightmare,” the president of the Indiana Auto Body Association (IABA) said.

When Senate Bill 164 sailed through the Indiana Senate, the association viewed the anti-steering bill as a step in the right direction for consumers and body shops, even if the bill wasn’t perfect. On Feb. 27, however, the Indiana House of Representatives passed an amended version of the bill, which now contains additional insurance-friendly language.

“Obviously the insurance lobby got ahold of it and turned it in a completely different direction,” IABA President Doug Martin of Martin’s Body Shop told BodyShop Business.

Under the amended version of the bill, it would be considered a “deceptive act” for a body shop to “accept the assignment of any rights” of a consumer. Below that, there’s new language stating that legal action to settle a claim dispute “must not be brought on behalf of a group or class of plaintiffs” – essentially prohibiting multiple body shops from filing class-action lawsuits against insurers on behalf of their customers.

The amended version also states that a repair is not defective if it conforms to the OEM repair specifications or “generally accepted industry standards.” In the view of the IABA, that’s “the most troublesome” aspect of the amended bill, Martin said.

“They’re trying to compare industry standards to OE recommendations or requirements,” Martin said.

SB 164 still would forbid insurance carriers from requiring policyholders to take their collision-damaged vehicles to a particular shop. The bill also would make it illegal for body shops to “coerce or intimidate” consumers to boycott an insurer’s drive-in claim facility, and would make it illegal for shops to “unreasonably deny” an insurer’s representative access to the shop to inspect or re-inspect a collision-damaged vehicle.

Because the Indiana General Assembly voted on two different versions of SB 164, the bill is back in the Senate for another possible vote. Sen. Mark Messmer, who introduced the original bill, has assured the Indiana Auto Body Association that the current amended version of the bill – which the association vehemently opposes – won’t see the light of day.

“He’s set up a conference committee to try to get the bill back to the version that passed the Senate,” Martin said. “And if that doesn’t work, he’s going to kill it.”

You May Also Like

Congress Signals Support for Consumers’ Right to Repair

Congress is telling the FTC to “prioritize investigations and enforcement” to protect consumers from what the CAR Coalition calls “unfair practices” by the automakers.

The CAR Coalition announced that federal lawmakers are signaling unprecedented support for protecting consumers’ right to repair their cars.

As part of the newly unveiled $1.7 trillion government funding package for FY2023, bill language directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to “prioritize investigations and enforcement efforts that protect consumers from unfair acts limiting competition, specifically stemming from [car] manufacturers’ control over telematics systems.”

Kansas Passes SEMA-supported Classic Car Legislation

SEMA applauds Kansas lawmakers for passing H.B. 2594 as a critical step forward in protecting the rights of restorers and owners of classic vehicles in the state.

U.S. Rep Bobby Rush Introduces REPAIR Act

This Federal legislation was introduced to provide consumers rights to their vehicle’s data and safeguard a free and fair repair market.

U.S. House Ag Committee Holds Hearing on EV Investments

Committee Chairman Rep. David Scott (D-GA) emphasized the importance of not leaving rural America behind in the push to vehicle electrification.

Pennsylvania Legislation Would Allow Self-Driving Cars to be Tested on Public Roads

S.B. 965 would allow companies to test self-driving vehicles on Pennsylvania highways without a driver available to take over in an emergency.

Other Posts

Report: Record Number of Consumers Switching Auto Policies

Consumers are continuing to react to widespread rate increases by auto insurers in the face of an ever-hardening market.

Washington DOI to Address Historic Increase in Complaints

The OIC has reported a historic volume of complaints since 2021, with complaints involving auto insurance responsible for most of the rise.

ABAT Educates Legislators on Safe Repairs

Collision repairers from all over the Lone Star State showed up in Austin on Feb. 23 to educate legislators on ABAT’s Safe Repair bill and Fair Appraisal bill. 

SEMA Sponsors ZEV Conversion Rebate Bill in California

Senate Bill 301 would create a financial rebate program for converting gas and diesel-powered motor vehicles into zero-emissions-vehicles.