Tennessee Takes on Consumer Choice Issue; Addresses Auto Glass Specifically
February 19, 2010

Both the Tennessee House of Representatives and the state's Senate currently are reviewing bills that would require insurers to inform claimants of their right to choose a repair facility. The bill also would prohibit insurers from requiring insureds or third-party claimants to use a certain business for their vehicles' repairs.

The bill is labeled H.B. 3488 in the House, and S.B. 3455 in the Tennessee Senate.

Like many other recent consumer choice bills that have been filed throughout the United States in the last few months, the bill would add language to the state's insurance code defining the term "deceptive referral" (known as the practice of steering by many). The bill would define a deceptive referral as "any trade practice by which an insurer attempts to persuade, convince, coerce, or intimidate a claimant into changing the claimant's choice of repair facility after the insurer has been informed that the claimant has selected a repair facility."

The bill reads as follows, "An insurer shall inform a claimant upon initial notification of a claim that the claimant has the right to choose the repair facility of his or her choice to repair a damaged vehicle."

It continues: "An insurer or any of its representatives shall not request or require any insured or third-party claimant to use a specific person or business for the provision of automobile physical damage repairs, automobile physical damage appraisals, automobile glass replacement, automobile parts, or glass repair service."

Both pieces of legislation were filed for introduction on January 28. Just this week, it was assigned to the consumer affairs division of the House's Consumer and Employees Affairs Committee, while the Senate has placed it in the Commerce, Labor and Agriculture Committee.

H.B. 3488 is sponsored by Rep. Dennis Ferguson (D), while S.B. 3455 is sponsored by Sen. Ken Yager (R).

CLICK HERE for the full text of the bill.

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