The Massachusetts Auto Body Association is encouraging repairers to support anti-steering legislation that now sits before the state’s senate. The Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously passed the legislation, House Bill 5056, July 31 and sent it to the state Senate. Once passed by the Senate, the bill would need to be signed by Gov. Deval Patrick, who has already signed into law other auto insurance reforms.
The bill’s anti-steering language addresses not only auto body steering, but glass company steering and rental car steering issues as well. In addition, the bill would authorize Massachusetts repair shops to send and insurers to approve supplement requests via Internet rather than the current personal inspection requirement; make it illegal for insurers to offer to warranty or guarantee repairs; require shops to increase their equipment requirements for licensure; require insurers to distribute one list free of any highlights or asterisks that identify the shops as a participant in an insurer program; and require the Commissioner of Insurance to conduct a “Market Conduct” study by the end of this year.
The Massachusetts Auto Body Association (MABA) believes HB 5056 would establish accountability for insurers and repairers and allow a competitive, free-market system allowing shops to compete fairly and freely against one another for customers.
“Massachusetts recently passed laws promoted by Gov. Patrick to encourage competition in the insurance industry,” said MABA spokesman Stephen Regan. “House Bill 5056 is the final piece of that puzzle and will compliment the Governor’s initiative by creating more competition, more products, and better services by collision repairers and other segments of our industry.”
According to MABA, another important aspect of the bill is that it will not increase insurance cost for consumers or insurers, which enabled MABA to obtain support from insurers for the reform bill. MABA expects the bill to reduce the overall cost of repairs by allowing for faster repair times through a more efficient supplement process and requiring repairers to upgrade their equipment.
MABA is encouraging all collision repairers in the state to contact their local state senator to support passage of HB 5056. To find out the name of your Massachusetts senator or representative, visit www.wheredoivotema.com/bal/myelectioninfo.php or call MABA at (800) 487-6262.