Proposed Anti-Steering Amendment Clears Indiana State Senate

An Indiana bill designed to prohibit insurers and related entities from requiring an insured to use a specified auto repair shop has cleared the state Senate and is currently waiting to be heard in the House of Representatives.

SB 164, which was authored by Sen. Mark Messmer, aims to “prohibit certain activities by an adjuster, insurer, insurance producer, or other representative of an insurer in connection with a motor vehicle repair; [and] makes certain activities by a repair shop in connection with a motor vehicle repair for which insurance coverage is available deceptive acts.”

After three readings within the Senate Committee on Insurance and Financial Institutions, the proposed amendment to the state’s current legislation was passed favorably with all 49 committee members voting “yea.”

Under the amendment, an insurer, adjuster, insurance producer or representative would not be allowed to do the following:

  • “Require that, as a condition of coverage under a policy of motor vehicle insurance, motor vehicle repairs must be made by a particular contractor or repair shop.
  • Fail to initiate and promptly conclude an investigation of a claim for motor vehicle repairs based on whether the motor vehicle repairs are made by a particular contractor or repair shop.
  • Unilaterally and arbitrarily disregard a repair operation or cost identified by an estimating system the use of which has been agreed to by the insurer and the repair shop for determining the cost of the repair.”

However, the bill also addresses what a repair shop can’t do: Coerce the claimant into boycotting the insurer’s claim center; attempt to secure the insured or claimant’s signature in order to authorize and act on their behalf when it comes to choosing a repair facility, or deny an insurer or its representative access to the repair shop during normal business hours to complete an investigation.

The proposed amendment will be heard in the House next, where two of its sponsors are representatives.

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