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Missouri Anti-Steering Bill Referred to Small Business, Insurance & Industrial Relations Committee

A Missouri State Senate bill that would require insurers to inform vehicle owners immediately on first contact that they have the right to choose the repair facility of their choice to repair vehicles has been referred to the Senate's Small Business, Insurance and Industrial Relations Committee.

The bill, which was pre-filed in December by Sen. Wes Shoemyer, also would mandate that insurers "halt any efforts to re-direct, refer or otherwise influence the vehicle owner in the choice of repair facility or program other than the repair facility chosen by the vehicle owner once the vehicle owner has stated they have chosen a repair facility."

The bill also deals with payment for insurance claims and would require that all claims paid by an insurer for motor vehicle damages shall be paid to the claimant by check, electronic transfer of funds or other means that provides the claimant or repair facility immediate access to the funds. It also notes that labor rates for motor vehicle damage repairs that are paid by insurers to claimants would be based on the "usual and customary repair rates."

If passed, the bill will take effect on August 28, 2008.

Sen. Shoemyer introduced a similar bill in 2007, S.B. 709, which was referred to the small business, insurance and industrial relations committee on March 8, 2007, but was not signed into law.

Collision industry advocate Bob Smith is the lobbyist behind this legislation, and similar legislation introduced in Kansas earlier this month. (CLICK HERE for related story.)

CLICK HERE for full text of bill.

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