Senate Considers Bill That Would Relax State's Anti-Steering Law
June 11, 2009
The California Senate read a bill that would ease the states
anti-steering law for the first time last week. The bill, which
has already passed the states Assembly, is designed to provide
that nothing in existing law restricts the ability of an insurer
to explain benefits the insurer provides as part of the claims process.
A.B. 1200 would amend the state's insurance law, which prohibits
insurers from suggesting an automotive repair facility unless requested
by the claimant, or if the claimant has been informed in writing
of the right to select an automotive repair facility, so that it
would now contain the following additional language:
Nothing in this section restricts the ability of an insurer to
explain benefits the insurer provides as part of the claims process.
The bill is currently in the Senate's committee on rules.
The bill has received much support from several insurance groups,
including the Personal Insurance Federation of California, the Association
of California Insurance Companies, Farmers Insurance, National Association
of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), the Pacific Association of
Domestic Insurance Companies (PADIC) and State Farm, who argue that
existing laws are being used "to withhold information from
customers about their auto repair options," according the Assembly
insurance committee's analysis of the bill.
However, the bill also has seen much opposition from automotive
groups. In addition, U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-Calif.),
who sponsored the state's existing anti-steering law as a member
of the California assembly, has spoken out against it via a letter
to the California insurance commissioner, in which she says "the
bill would allow insurers to continue to make sales pitches to consumers
long after the consumer has decided to select his/her own shop."
HERE for full text of bill.
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