Anti-Steering Bill Pre-Filed in South Carolina
December 17, 2010

A South Carolina representative has pre-filed a bill that is designed “to prohibit an insurer, agent, employee or representative from recommending to an insured or a claimant to use a specific shop for repair.” If passed, H.B. 3232 also would prohibit an insurer from owning or having an interest in an auto body repair facility.

The bill would amend the state’s insurance code by adding an article with the following language addressing steering (or what some refer to as “deceptive referrals”).

“An insurer, agent, employee, or a representative may not recommend, steer, request, or require an insured or a claimant to use a specific shop for repairs,” reads the bill’s language. “This restriction forbids an act to influence an insured's or a claimant's decision, including reducing the deductable or offering additional warranties or suggesting that choosing a nondirect repair shop will result in delays, a lack of guaranty, or additional costs to the insured or claimant.”
The bill also addresses pricing, and would prevent insurers from “recommend[ing], apply[ing] or includ[ing] an arbitrary limit, a cap, or a threshold when adjusting labor, parts or other material, including, but not limited to, paint, body materials and supplies on a written automobile repair estimate.”

Finally, the bill also would prohibit “an insurer [from] own[ing] or hav[ing] interest in an auto body repair facility.”

"We're just trying to keep the insurance companies honest," says bill sponsor Rep. Bill Herbkersman. "This legislation is a hybrid of other states' legislation that protects the consumers."

And while the bill may have been created for consumer protection, Herbkersman says it would be beneficial for the industry, too.

"It may well be good for the glass industry as well," he says. "Quality shops should be able to provide quality service and be compensated for it fairly."

The bill, pre-filed by Rep. Bill Herbkersman on December 14, was referred to the Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.

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