When Rick Rosar, president of Minneapolis-based Rapid Glass, and other AGRR companies got word that an amendment to Minnesota state Senate bill was likely to be introduced during a Commerce Committee hearing in St. Paul today, they sprang into action. Minnesota Senate File 2372 could eliminate consolidated arbitrations, so the glass shops quickly took action by converging on the state capital to testify and speak out against the action. They were successful in their efforts.
Some glass shops seeking reimbursement for alleged short payments from insurers group their claims together for consolidated arbitration. This is the best method for arbitration and eliminating consolidated arbitrations would have bad industry implications, says Rosar.
“We heard they were looking to eliminate consolidated arbitrations and keep it down to one arbitration per invoice or maybe put a limit on the amount of money we can arbitrate,” Rosar said from the state capital today.
Rosar’s company has a history of winning in arbitration. It recently was awarded approximately $37,000 in an arbitration ruling filed against USAA.
“The courts have analyzed this [consolidated arbitration] and have said this is where we [glass shops] are supposed to be. This is the perfect venue for automotive glass arbitrations. We should group all claims together,” he adds.
Minnesota glass shops that fight alleged short pays generally take their claims to District Court to state their case. The court gives glass shops permission to consolidate so many claims, or claims worth so much money together, for arbitration, Rosar, who also serves as treasurer for the Independent Glass Association, explains.
“Actually, a lot of insurers have been forgoing District Court,” he says. “Insurers forgo that hearing and then address the situation in arbitration. If they are able to pass the bill with this amendment, it makes it more difficult for us because we can no longer group claims together. It will be more cumbersome for glass shops to do arbitrations one at a time or 10 at a time. We should be able to group claims together.”
Just prior to the state senate hearing, Rosar said a lot of glass shops are at the state capital building with their uniforms on to represent the AGRR industry.
No committee action was taken at the hearing, according to the state Senate website. The arbitration amendment has not been added to the bill.
“A major hurdle has been cleared. The arbitration language has been taken out of the bill by the author of the bill. There is still a chance it can be introduced in the [state] House but that is unlikely,” says Gary Hart, executive director of the IGA.
“So far so good,” adds Rosar. “It’s never over until it’s over.”
He notes a companion bill will be introduced in the state House, but he doesn’t think the amendment or arbitration language will be included.
“Close to two dozen glass shop owners and employees came out today,” Rosar says. “We ran a purely grassroots effort to get this news out there. While our section of the bill was not added, we went ahead and sat through the rest of the meeting. It is a huge sigh of relief.”
The insurance bill at the heart of the situation is largely designed to prevent insurance fraud and mostly deals with medical claims. A copy of the bill is available on the state Senate website here and enter 2372 into the search box.
For more on this situation as it becomes available, stay tuned to glassBYTEs.com™.