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Oregon Bill Would Lessen Insurer Influence on Repair Costs

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The Oregon Senate is considering a bill that would lessen insurer influence on repair costs through several provisions designed to distance insurers – both figuratively and literally – from the repair process. The bill, S.B. 617, is backed by Oregonians for Safe Auto Repair (OSAR).

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The bill has three components stating that insurers and other third parties financially responsible for paying for repairs to a consumer’s vehicle would not be allowed to:

• enter into a contract, either verbal or written, with a repair shop;
• influence, direct or suggest how the shop repairs a vehicle, including the cost of repairs;
• or maintain an office, desk, cubicle or space within 100 feet of the premises where the consumer’s vehicle is being repaired.

The new law would be placed under the jurisdiction of the Oregon Department of Justice’s Unfair Trade Practices Act. OSAR hopes this would “level the playing field" for shops and consumers by allowing shops to lodge complaints against insurers for violation of the law. Currently, the Oregon Insurance Department only accepts complaints filed by consumers.

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A hearing for the bill in front of the Senate Consumer Protection Committee is slated for March 17.

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