After clearing the Indiana House floor, Senate Bill 146, which aims to prohibit insurers and related entities from steering, may have hit a temporary stalemate. The state Senate has refused to concur with the amendments added by the House Committee on Insurance which weakened the original anti-steering intentions of the bill.
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.”
However, in a late February hearing, the House Committee voted favorably to pass the bill with the several additions. Under the proposed amendments, it would be considered deceptive if an auto repair shop were to do the following:
- “Include in a contract with an insured or a claimant a provision assigning any rights of the insured or claimant to the repair shop or a third party;
- Accept the assignment of any rights of an insured or a claimant related to the repair of the motor vehicle.”
Under the same chapter, legal action that can be taken against an insurer is restricted. According to the amendment, if an action were to be brought forth as a deceptive act, the action may only be brought on behalf of an individual, not a group or a class of plaintiffs.
It would also be a rebuttable presumption that a repair is not defective if it’s done according to the OEM’s repair procedures or “generally accepted industry standards.”
The amendment also removed language that weakened the bill’s anti-steering measures, including an insurer’s failure to conclude an investigation promptly due to the insured’s repair facility choice.
According to the Indiana Auto Body Association (IABA), the organization that originally pushed for the bill, the amendments were added last minute. Due to these changes, it has withdrawn its support.
“As many are aware, the IABA has been working with Senator Mark Messmer on Senate Bill 164,” the group says in a Facebook post. “The [bill] was heard … by the House Insurance Committee, where a last minute amendment was thrown in that we WILL NOT support … The IABA Board Members and a few others are working with Senator Messmer to see that the amended bill does not pass at it reads currently.”
The bill was passed on to the Senate which has refused to concur with the House Committee’s amendments.