The Assembly Insurance Committee in New York State passed a bill in January 2017 that set to amend the state’s insurance law. The law requires insurance companies to disclose to consumers that they have the right to choose which shop conducts repairs on their vehicle unless repairs solely involve auto glass.
“The insurer shall provide (other than a claim solely involving window glass) a copy of its repair estimate to the insured that includes the following disclosure, plainly printed in no less than 12 point type: ‘Pursuant to section 2610 of the insurance law, an insurance company cannot require that repairs be made to a motor vehicle in a particular place or repair shop. You have the right to have your vehicle repaired in the shop of your choosing,’” according to the bill.
It was reported that Safelite representatives reportedly stated to at least one Assembly member’s office that the exemption was proper due to claims administration for auto glass being so seamless.
Now, glass shops in the state are rallying in order to push back against the new bill they say threatens to kill the New York auto glass business.
“It’s going to affect small business, and it’s going to affect consumers,” says Scott Owens, president, and owner of Excel Auto Glass Corp. “Consumers have the right to be involved with their choice of repair shop. When customers come to our shop, it’s their choice,” he added.
“Subsection (b) of Section 2610 of the Insurance Law has consistently recognized the difference between collision body repair and vehicle glass repair and replacement services. Currently, there is an exception for claims ‘solely involving window glass’ from the ban on insurance companies suggesting or recommending certain repair shops. This is in recognition of the high-volume nature of glass repair, and the fact that the window glass repair referral process differs from the collision repair process. Therefore, this legislation extends that exemption to the disclosure requirements of subsection (c) (Chapter 278 of 2016),” according to a memorandum in support of the exemption of auto glass repairs.
Owens says the dispute has been ongoing for nearly a decade. In 2007, Owens wrote a letter to the Assembly outlining why the exemption goes against the regulations already in place, and he plans to do so again. Owns has partnered with other local shops in pushing back against the bill and invites others to join them.
“Glass shops need to take back the industry. We have to stop rolling over just to get a job, we need to take control of our businesses and what we charge instead of it being negotiated behind the customers back,” says Owens.