Speak Out Against Washington Anti-Steering Bill H.B. 3053 During
Hearing; Rep. Kirby Speaks Out
Several insurance company representatives said the text of Washington
State's House Bill (H.B.) 3053 limits its communications with customers
when they testified before the Senate Financial Institutions and
Insurance Committee on Tuesday, February 26. H.B. 3053 would amend
the state's current anti-steering law and would prohibit an insurer
or claims administrator (TPA) from recommending an auto glass repair
or replacement shop for a claim that only involves glass if the
insured indicates that he has chosen a facility (CLICK
HERE for related story).
"At its core, this bill presents a huge problems in that it prevents
insurers from communicating to its insureds the services and rights
that they have paid for," said Mel Sorenson, speaking on behalf
of the Property and Casualty Insurance Association of America.
Cliff Webster, speaking for the American Insurance Association,
"[The bill] would decrease the amount of information available
to insureds and that's not fair to the consumer," he said.
A Belron US/Safelite representative, Dan Coyne, also was in attendance
to speak out against the bill.
"If enacted, this bill would effectively be a gag order," he said.
One insurer representative argued that the bill is not one of importance
"All we want is a seamless claims system. We're not getting complaints
about this," he said.
However, the bill, which arose from work conducted by the Washington
Independent Auto Glass Association and Seattle-based All Star Glass,
also met lots of support from the auto glass industry with assistance
from the Independent Glass Association, who insisted it's not meant
to be a gag order.
"It is not our intent in any shape or form to gag the insurers,"
said Lisa Thatcher, speaking on behalf of All Star Glass.
Pam Shearer of Auto Glass Plus also spoke.
"What this bill is about is third-party administrators who also
own glass shops whose language does interfere with a consumer's
right to choose," she told the committee. "The language they use
is, 'Unless you instruct me otherwise, I'd like you to use a particular
Christie Newman, also of All Star Glass, noted that while the current
law, passed last year, does have merit, she believes it is still
HERE for related story.)
"There is a big loophole in this bill that a third-party administrator
can advise that they own the shop right before they start the repair,"
she said. "This bill is trying to prevent steering away of a consumer's
Sen. Don Benton advised Shearer asked if it's possible this is
an issue that's not of importance to consumers.
"Maybe they don't care and they just want their windshields fixed,"
he said. "Maybe that's the bottom line."
"I do believe consumers who have a choice in mind do care," she
With regard to the insurers who came out in protest, Rep. Steve
Kirby, who originally sponsored the bill, says this is not unusual
in Senate hearings.
"Legislation that regulates the insurance industry usually fares
better in the house than in the Senate," he told glassBYTEs.comô/AGRR
magazine. "It is a strategy for the insurance industry to let
things happen in the house and wait for them in the Senate and beat
them down there."
He advised the insurance industry also ran radio ads opposing the
bill over the last few days leading up the hearing in Washington
"I believe the insurance industry has drawn a line in the sand
in the state of Washington and will fight to the death with every
piece of legislation that attempts to regulate them in any way,"
At press time, Rep. Kirby was uncertain whether the bill would
make it past the Senate committee. Stay tuned to glassBYTEs.com
for the latest.
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