Two bills related to the auto glass industry died recently in the Arizona legislature.
Arizona S.B. 1155, which was introduced in mid-January by Sen. Sylvia Allen, aimed to strengthen the state’s current anti-steering laws and require timely inspections of glass claims. It went through the state Senate Committee on Government, where committee members heard from representatives of the Arizona Auto Glass Association and the Safety Glass Association of Arizona.
“(T)here is a fundamental conflict of interest if a [third-party administrator] is also a retail company,” said Jeff Searles, president of Auto Glass Shop in Chandler, Ariz. “Because what happens is … we, as independent glass shops, have to call our competition to ask them if it’s OK if we replace a damaged windshield. We have to give our competition our customer’s information prior to us getting authorization to do the claim.”
Searles said the legislation addressed two important issues for independent glass shop owners: It would have allowed them to keep customers they’ve procured through their own marketing efforts, and it would have required an insurance company to use its own licensed adjusters to perform the auto glass inspections.
Rex Altree, president and founder of the Arizona Glass Association, said the bill, and others like it, was about protecting consumers’ interests as well.
S.B. 1155 also had its detractors.
“This bill overreaches and really misses the target,” said Don Isaacson, speaking on behalf of State Farm in opposition of the legislation. “It’s directed toward a situation where it’s Safelite — where they do both the evaluation and act as a TPA as well as an installer. State Farm doesn’t use that system … so if there’s a problem with part of the industry, that’s where it should be directed.”
Despite its progress through the committee, the bill will not move forward. Sen. Allen’s office said it was unlikely the bill would be reintroduced at a later date.
Meanwhile, Arizona S.B. 1424 also stalled in committee. The bill, which was introduced by Sen. David Farnsworth in late January, would have amended the state’s current legislation to prevent auto insurers and third-party administrators from steering, incentivizing and coercing a customer to use one of its preferred auto glass shops. It also addressed fair pricing and insurer inspections.
Sen. Farnsworth’s office said it was unknown whether the bill would be reintroduced.
Jacqui Barrineau is a contributing writer for glassBYTEs.com