Arizona Auto Glass Bill Amended; New Version Includes Anti-Steering Language

March 22, 2010

An Arizona auto glass bill designed to address auto glass shops and possible types of insurance fraud has been amended, and the newly revised bill now includes anti-steering language, along with several other new provisions. (CLICK HERE for related story.)

The new bill contains the following language focused on third-party glass claims administrators:

"It is unlawful for a person who sells or repairs auto glass to intentionally misrepresent the relationship of the glass repair facility to the policyholder's insurer. For the purposes of determining whether a person intended the misrepresentation, it may be presumed that the person intended the misrepresentation if the person was engaged in a regular and consistent pattern of misrepresentation."

The new bill also adds language prohibiting an auto glass business from "advising a policyholder to falsify the date of damage to the auto glass that results in a change of insurance coverage for repair or replacement of the auto glass."

The earlier bill prohibited auto glass shops from misrepresenting to a customer "that the insurer has approved the repairs or replacement," but the new version adds the following clause at the end of this provision: "unless the auto glass repair or replacement facility has verified coverage or obtained authorization directly from the insurance company or any other third party administrator contracted with the insurance company and the evidence has been confirmed by fax, e?mail or other written and recorded communication."

Several text changes also are included to the bill's original provisions. (CLICK HERE for full text of bill.)

Kerry Soat, chief executive officer for Fas-Break and vice president of the Arizona Glass Association, has been working closely with two lobbyists and with Rep. Nancy McLain, who sponsored the bill, to get the language revised.

"This bill was very vague and extremely threatening to the auto glass companies operating in Arizona," says Soat. "If this bill was passed in its original form, it could have subjected innocent auto glass operators to Class 6 felonies. It also could have become 'poster child' legislation in other states. This bill needed to be written with input from the auto glass companies, not just the insurance companies as it was originally."

Soat says he worked with representatives from State Farm, American Family and Farmers to develop the new language, along with AGA lobbyists Barry Aarons and Jimmy Hamilton.

"Since fraud is present in the auto glass industry and we were not denying it, we also felt a good bill focusing on fraudulent practices would be good for the industry," he says. "By all the parties dealing in good faith and sincere honesty, we were able to arrive at an amended H.B. 2463 that deals directly with the issues the insurance companies wanted to cover."

Though the new bill does contain anti-steering language, Soat says further legislation could be needed to address this issue.

"I believe a more comprehensive auto glass and insurance company bill is needed to help alleviate the wide gaps in the operation of auto glass companies doing business with insurance companies and third-party administrators," he says.

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