Safelite Opposes Language in New York Bill
In the battle to get consumer choice in auto glass legislation passed in New York State to include auto glass as a consumer choice, glassBYTEs.comô has learned that at the last minute when advocates were waiting for the proposed bill to come out of the House Insurance Committee, Safelite Glass Corp., through its lawyers, sent a letter to the legislators saying that enacting the law would be bad for consumers, increase prices for auto replacement work, and add an unnecessary regulatory burden. The action moved the committee to change the language of the bill so that insurance companies can recommend a shop as long as it does the replacement to a certain as yet undefined standard.
This action, the advocates of the bill say, makes the legislation favorable to Safelite and detrimental to independents.
The newly-worded bill went out of the Insurance Committee to the Codes Committee as soon as the changes were made, and that is where it is now. Independent glass shop owners in the state say they are writing letters to the legislators giving their side of the story, and that the Long Island Glass Association is also getting involved.
glassBYTEs.com has determined that only the House bill has been changed at this time, not the senate.
As reported on glassBYTEs earlier this week, Senate Bill S03429 and State Assembly Bill A07199 would have prohibited insurance agents from recommending or suggesting a shop to repair or replace damaged auto glass unless "expressly requested" by the insured driver. Additionally, the bill would have authorized the superintendent of insurance to publish "regulations relating to the replacement of automobile glass," and those regulations have been defined as "at least as stringent as the standards developed by the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS).
The Safelite letter, which urges defeat of the bill, states that establishing additional regulations would not improve quality, and would have a quite opposite effect, driving auto glass companies towards mediocrity.
"Assembly bill 7199 also calls for the promulgation of new State regulations to address the installation of auto glass. The auto glass industry, however, currently must abide by ANSI ("American National Standards Institute") [editor's note: commonly known as the AGRSS standard] standards relative to the installation of auto glass. Safelite's own internal training program goes above and beyond industry standards. Establishing additional regulations in New York State would not improve quality, in fact it would be quite the opposite. Such regulations would drive auto glass companies towards mediocrity rather than excellence. Companies would have to divert time and resources towards meeting certain stock standards that are not specific to products (i.e., particular urethanes, resins, etc.) or to particular installation methods."
CLICK HERE for the full text of the Safelite letter as it was submitted on Plunkett & Jaffe stationery. Only the text is available here as copy quality would not allow for clear reproduction.
CLICK HERE to read the letters that Scott Owens and Dave Burns have submitted to the legislators in response to Safelite's arguments.
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