Four measures relating to the auto glass repair and replacement (AGRR) industry have been pre-filed and assigned to committees in the South Carolina House of Representatives. From the Rural Area Support Act that requires insurance policies to contain an appraisal clause to new regulations for sun screening devices on auto glass, the upcoming session of the South Carolina General Assembly could influence the state’s AGRR industry.
Authored by Rep. Joseph H. Jefferson (D-102), the Rural Area Support Act would amend South Carolina’s Code of Laws by requiring all new car insurance policies in the state to include an appraisal clause. Insurers would also need to include appraisal clauses when renewing existing policies. Additionally, the measure would make it unlawful for vehicle insurers to “collude or conspire” with respect to vendor rates with any vendor including body shops, rental car companies, glass companies and parts companies.
“Insurers are prohibited from establishing an agreement with any company where that company establishes a price that must be satisfied by a repair shop to do claims repair work for the insurer, and then retains a percentage of the claim,” the proposed legislation continues.
Also included is language outlining that automobile repairs provided by insurers per insurance policies must follow the manufacturer’s repair instructions starting on vehicles produced in 2015. If repairs require the use of paint, the legislation would require that the insurer pay the state sales tax on the product.
The Rural Area Support Act also gives the insured the right to choose the body shop and rental car company of their choice.
“When an insured chooses a vendor that is not a contracted vendor for the insurer, all coverages and services must be provided without bias,” the act reads. “In South Carolina, a vehicle owner shall not be required by an insurer to travel unreasonable distances into the urban areas to obtain an estimate, vehicle repairs or a rental car.”
Lastly, South Carolina insurers would not be permitted to direct more than half of their claims to vendors that are not South Carolina-owned companies. The measure is assigned to the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee.
Rep. John Richard C. King (D-049) authored the next pre-filed measure, SC H 3260, which would also amend the state’s code. It is assigned to the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee.
“An automobile insurer may not consider claims submitted for the repair or replacement of automobile safety glass when determining the premium rates on the insured’s policy,” the act reads.
SC H 3372, authored by Rep. J. Todd Rutherford (D-074), first addresses the state’s speed limits before touching on items related to the auto glass industry. The pre-filed measure would remove a few lines from current legislation, including that professional window tinters are guilty of misdemeanors in the event they offer for sale or use products not in compliance with state regulations; or without affixing certificates of compliance. The possibility for 30-day imprisonment for violations would also be taken off the table. The proposed amendment would leave in place fines of at least $1,000 for each violation. Fines for consumers run at least $200.
The proposed amendment is assigned to the House Education and Public Works Committee.
Rutherford has pre-filed another amendment to the state’s code, SC H 3384, entailing only a few changes starting in 2024.
“Beginning January 1, 2024, a single sunscreening device to be applied to the rear-most window must be non-reflective and the combined light transmission of the sunscreening device with the factory or manufacturer installed sunscreening material must not be less than 20%.”
The amendment adopts the 20% figure as opposed to 27%, and is also assigned to the House Education and Public Works Committee. The 125th session begins January 2023.