Earlier this week, the Connecticut House passed HB 5072, limiting the abilities of insurance companies or their representatives to “steer” insureds to specific automotive glass repair facilities.  The new legislation follows a trend in Connecticut to dissuade insurers from directing insureds to use specific facilities.  Connecticut’s existing laws prevent appraisers from requiring that specific locations or companies be used for automotive repairs.

In particular, the legislation prohibits any insurance company, third-party administrator, agent or adjuster from discussing potential repair establishments with an insured unless the insured is informed of his or her right to use any licensed glass repair facility.  The bill does not specifically prohibit the “steering” of insureds to particular facilities so long as they are informed of their rights.  However, if such glass repair facility is owned by the insurance company or its claims administrator, then the bill requires the insured to be informed of the actual name of another licensed glass facility “in the area” where such work could be performed so that the insured does not feel compelled to choose the recommended affiliated repair facility.

The bill is not without its controversy, and it is unclear if we will see similar anti-steering statutes arise in other jurisdictions.   Opponents of the legislation have noted that complaints regarding steering were minimal, and other states, such as Rhode Island, have seen similar legislation vetoed.  In addition, some experts in the industry believe that tighter restrictions on “steering” may result in higher auto insurance rates.  In light of these concerns, it remains to be seen whether Connecticut will ultimately pass HB 5072, and if so, whether other states will follow in Connecticut’s path.

Please click here for a link to the bill.