The original bill would have prohibited a company who administers vehicle glass claims for insurance companies from referring any policyholder to its affiliate vehicle glass repair business. The original bill is rated "business negative" by the South Carolina Business & Industry Political Education Committee (SC BIPEC) and is opposed by the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, Property Casualty Insurance Association of America (PCI) and others.
"We are extremely pleased the original version of House Bill 4042 did not pass out of committee. However, an amendment, drafted in part by Scott Taylor of DNS Auto Glass, formerly Coast To Coast Auto Glass, seeks to dismantle preferred provider networks in favor of a 'provider list.' Amended H. 4042 would require every fly-by-night glass shop be included in a 'provider list' and then offered to South Carolina consumers on a rotating basis," said Brian DiMasi, Safelite's senior corporate counsel. "Dismantling direct repair programs or 'preferred provider' networks that offer high quality and low prices, hurts consumers. DNS Auto Glass and other shops that approach people at car washes, gas stations and even in their neighborhoods typically do not participate in traditional networks. Enacting a law that requires insurers to offer their company as an alternative clearly benefits them at the expense of South Carolinian consumers."
"Oftentimes, consumers rely on their insurance company to refer them to a reputable repair shop, backed by the insurance company. Claim costs will rise, warranty claims will rise, and customer complaints will rise. All of this affects insurance premiums, an issue South Carolina has worked so hard to address in recent years," said DiMasi.
Amended H. 4042 passed out of the committee and will now be on the contested calendar in the Senate. "Fortunately, Senator Robert Ford placed his name on a minority report which effectively stops the bill from being voted on in the full Senate except under very limited circumstances," said DiMasi. "Safelite® has always been willing to discuss compromise language that will not hurt consumers, and hopefully, Senator Ford's minority report will convince the supporters of amended H. 4042 to come to the table. Up to this point, they have not been willing to do so," explained DiMasi.
About Safelite® Group
Safelite® Group, a subsidiary of Belron®, is a multi-faceted vehicle glass and claims management service organization based in Columbus, Ohio. The company, which has been in business since 1947, is comprised of four major business operations that include vehicle glass repair and replacement services, operating under the trade names Safelite AutoGlass®; Safelite® Solutions and Alliance Claims Solutions, which offer fleet and insurance claims management services; Service AutoGlass®, a wholesale and distribution operation; and Safelite® Glass Corp., a manufacturing and distribution business unit. The company employs more than 10,000 people throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.Safelite.com.