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2008 Legislation Wrap-Up: Anti-Steering Laws See Both Successes and Failures

As many of the 2008 spring legislative sessions come to a close, the industry has seen a number of anti-steering bill and other industry-related legislation moving through legislative bodies across the United States. Read on for a wrap-up of these.

Connecticut: The Connecticut legislature approved a bill that will require disclosure to consumers that they have the right to choose the repair facility that completes the repairs of their motor vehicles. The bill also requires insurance companies to include the following notice on all issued insurance cards in capital letters and boldface type: "You have the right to choose the licensed repair shop where the damage to your motor vehicle will be repaired." At press time, the bill was awaiting the governor's approval. (CLICK HERE for related story.)

Iowa: This state saw the passage of a bill that will create a consumer insurance advocate bureau. The bill, which deals with a number of issues relating to the Iowa Insurance Department, was signed into law by Gov. Chet Culver on April 25. Under the text of the bill, the consumer advocate bureau will be "responsible for ensuring fair treatment of consumers by persons in the business of insurance and for preventing unfair or deceptive trade practices in the insurance marketplace." (CLICK HERE for related story.)

Kansas: The Kansas House of Representatives currently is reviewing House Bill (H.B.) 2653, which would require insurers to immediately inform policyholders that they have the right to choose a repair facility of their choice to repair their vehicles. The bill is under consideration in the House's Transportation Committee.

Missouri: Senate Bill 775 would have required insurers to inform vehicle owners immediately on first contact that they have the right to choose the repair facility of their choice to repair their vehicles. This year, the bill, sponsored by Sen. Wes Shoemyer, passed the Senate's Small Business, Insurance and Industrial Relations Committee, but only a day before the legislative session ends. Shoemyer plans to introduce a similar bill next year. (CLICK HERE for related story.)

Washington: Washington House Bill 3053 would have amended the state's current anti-steering law and would prohibit an insurer or claims administrator from recommending an auto glass repair or replacement shop if the insured indicates he has chosen a facility. The bill met its end while under Senate review after a public hearing during which it saw great opposition from the insurance industry. (CLICK HERE for related story.) Rep. Steve Kirby, who introduced the bill, says he plans to introduce the same bill again next year.

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