Texas Legislation Would Prohibit TPA and Insurer Ownership of Auto Glass Businesses; Also Addresses Steering, Inspections
March 17, 2011

A Texas legislator has introduced a bill that would add language to the state's law prohibiting insurer or third-party administrator (TPA) ownership of auto glass businesses, along with language addressing auto glass "inspections."

The specific language prohibiting insurer and TPA ownership of auto glass businesses is as follows: "An insurer or [TPA] may not own or require an interest in an automotive glass repair service."

The legislation as drafted also includes anti-steering language, and would prohibit an insurer or TPA from "in any manner coerce[ing] or induc[ing] an insured to use an automotive glass repair service other than the insured's chosen service, if the insured has chosen a service."

The language of H.B. 2423 also addresses instances in which TPAs or insurers require an inspection prior to authorizing auto glass work. In its current form, the bill would require the inspector "must be a direct employee of the insurer or an independent party who is unrelated and unaffiliated with any automotive glass repair service."

The bill defines an "inspector" as "a party who is engaged in the physical inspection of a claimant's vehicle for the purposes of adjusting a claim."

Body shops that handle their own auto glass work are excluded from the proposed law's provisions.

The bill was introduced by Texas Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Texas). Megan Atchley, a spokesperson for Rep. Thompson's office, advised glassBYTEs.com™/AGRR the current auto glass bill was designed to mirror the body shop law on record that addresses the same concerns.

"Many believe the same protections given to the automotive industry should extend to the automotive glass industry," says Atchley, when asked how the bill came about. "We're all about making sure the customer has the right to choose and the right to keep the prices fair."

The bill currently is under the review of the Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee.

A similar bill regarding inspections recently was introduced in Arizona and currently is under the review of the Arizona House.

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