Wisconsin Steering Bill Dies with Legislative Session - BodyShop Business
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Wisconsin Steering Bill Dies with Legislative Session

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A bill addressing steering, labor rates and estimates, S.B. 118, failed to pass the Wisconsin Senate before the end of its 2009-2010 legislative session.

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Insurers and repairers in the state debated whether the bill was needed earlier this year, with insurers claiming it would slow down the repair process and supporters of the bill – including repairers – saying it was necessary to protect consumers.

“We’ve heard from a lot of constituents who said that they were subjected to a lot of arm-twisting, a lot of high-pressure tactics by the insurance company to go with (certain shops),” bill author Sen. Pat Kreitlow told WQOW Channel 18.

The legislation stated:

• Auto insurers can’t require insureds to use a particular repair shop. Insurers must inquire whether claimants have chosen a repair shop before making a referral. The legislation also outlined methods to notify insureds of their right to choose a repair facility.

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• Insurers must pay the same rate for repairs as the general public in the local market area unless an agreement is made with a shop. Insurers may not limit or discount the amount paid on the basis that the repair would have cost less if it had been made at a facility specified by the insurer.

• Insurance adjusters may not prepare a vehicle damage estimate or alter one prepared by another party without first physically inspecting the damage to the vehicle. The bill also prohibited an insurer or anyone acting on behalf of an insurer from unilaterally and arbitrarily disregarding a repair operation or cost identified under a damage repair estimate system.

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