NCOIL Tables Steering Language Change Indefinitely
November 24, 2010
The National Conference of Insurance Legislators met this past weekend to review the model steering act and the changes proposed by Belron. It ultimately decided to table discussion of the issue indefinitely.
The meeting format consisted of a panel of interested parties who discussed their opinion and took questions from the audience. Panel members included representatives from the Property Casualty Insurers Association (PCIA), Belron, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), and Phil Mosley, president of the U.S. Alliance of Collision Professionals.
According to Mosley, Belron’s position, as stated at the hearing, was that the company was concerned that anti-steering legislation would interfere with its constitutional right for free speech and would restrict competition. PCIA and NAMIC echoed the same sentiments. A representative from PCIA went on to say that they don’t believe that steering exists and there is no one complaining about the issue.
Mosley disagreed, arguing that steering is “the number one issue taking place in the collision repair industry.” He added that he is concerned that free speech is being “used as camouflage to control the collision repair industry.”
Senator Bob Larkin (R-New York) told the panel that he disagreed with their assessment and invited members to come to his district and talk to the shops that are trying to stay in business.
An official vote was taken to indefinitely table the issue with the charge given to the new committee which will be taking office next year. The next meeting will be in March of 2011 in Washington, D.C.
Committee chair Sen. Ruth Teichman said, "We certainly want to promote a system that lets consumers choose the repair shops they want, rather than respond to insurer demands or pressure. But considering the wide-ranging opposition to our proposed model, moving forward with this draft language seemed unwise. Is there a better way to safeguard consumer choice? Possibly, and that’s what the committee may choose to discuss next year."
Mosley remains optimistic about the next meeting.
“I don’t think the legislators that really get this issue will let it be. I met a lot of legislators that are passionately in our corner. Killing the legislation this time will not stop the momentum that we’ve built,” he said.
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