Tuesday, 04 March 2008 10:41

CRA Seeks Industry Wide Support for Anti-Steering Bill SB 1167

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The CRA today called on repairers in California to rally around SB 1167 which it called “truth-setting policy” that protects consumers from insurer CRP steering tactics. The bill, authored by State Senator Pat Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) and sponsored by the CRA, states that when a claimant first reports an accident, the insurer would be required to ask if the claimant had selected a repairer. The bill then ties into current law that directs insurers not to recommend or suggest alternative repair choices when the claimant has selected a repairer. The bill is tentatively set for hearing on Wednesday, April 2, 2008 in the Senate Committee on Banking, Finance and Insurance.

 

 Insurers would not be able to explain the benefits of DRPs

   “The battleground is SB 1167 and the insurance industry is leading with its ‘head,’” stated Allen Wood, CRA Executive Director. He noted that insurers are opposing the bill because it wouldn’t allow them to explain the benefits of DRPs. “By opposing the bill insurers are admitting they currently violate the law which protects consumer choice by not allowing an insurer to suggest or recommend an alternative shop to claimants who have already selected a repairer. I’m calling on collision repairers everywhere to support a knockout blow on insurer steering tactics.”

    CRA lobbyist Richard Steffen said the bill will be in final form next week after clarifying amendments are added to the measure. He stated, “We aren’t changing the message, only simplifying it. The insurers are calling SB 1167 an ‘anti-consumer’ bill while CRA says the measure is ‘pro-consumer.’ Someone is wrong.  SB 1167 is truly truth-setting policy.” Steffen noted insurer representatives like to clobber claimants with DRP rhetoric before claimants have an opportunity to state that they have already selected a repairer. As drafted the CRA bill will require the insurer to ask the claimant about a repair choice before proceeding with a discussion of DRPs. If the claimant affirms that a choice has been made, then no DRP talk would be allowed.

    Steffen said the bill process will be as follow: The bill should be in final form on March 10, 2008, at which time it will be sent electronically to all CRA members. Additionally, the CRA will ask the CAA and the New Motor Car Dealers Association to distribute notice of the bill. The notice will include the names and addresses of the author’s office and the legislators who will be voting on SB 1167. Letters of support should be written on business letterhead and mailed by March 18, 2008. For more information contact Richard Steffen at 916-524-8046, rsteffen@pacbell.net

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