Consumers should have choices when fixing their damaged vehicles.
That’s the topic of discussion at a capitol hearing. Democrat Pat Kreitlow of Chippewa Falls says it’s important to consumers to have control over where they spend their money. He says when individuals need their car fixed, they should be allowed to shop around and find the best deal.
“Unfortunately that is not the case when it comes to the vast majority of insurance covered auto body repairs in Wisconsin. Under current law the power to choose an auto repair shop lies primarily with the insurance company and not the actual consumer — the person who owns the vehicle that’s been damaged and who’s been paying the premiums.”
Kreitlow testifies at a senate committee hearing that many consumers and repair shops don’t trust the process. He doesn’t have a problem with insurance companies “recommending” a particular vendor to their customer, but not “mandating” it. Kreitlow says well-qualified auto repair shops without an agreement with the insurance company are excluded from the market.
However, Chuck Fravel with American Family Insurance disagrees. “Our program is offered as a service, it is not mandated.”
Fravel says if customers were complaining about their Direct Repair program, he’d know about it.
Andrew Franken is with Wisconsin Insurance Alliance. “This bill micro-manages the claim process from the moment of the accident until the payment of the claim. This is government intrusion into the entire claims process.”
Kreitlow argues that his legislation (SB-118) does not block the insurance company from making recommendations or entering into agreements with shops, it simply makes sure the consumer knows he has options and can make the final decision.
Jackie Johnson reports 1:40