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by Ryan Banfill, FJA Communications Director

The Florida Senate Banking and Insurance Committee this week pumped the brakes on legislation (SB 312) creating prohibitions on auto safety glass customer solicitation.

The proposal hit the bill in the form of an amendment filed with items on insurance companies’ wish list including curbs on attorneys’ fees and corporate-friendly provisions related to pre-suit notice. Consumer advocates say this creates a barrier between a vehicle owner and the safe, manufacturer-recommended replacement of damaged auto safety glass.

“The whole point of having your windshield replaced is to keep you safe. The whole point is to make sure you can see,” FJA President Leslie Kroeger testified, stressing the importance of auto safety glass as life-saving equipment critical to the proper operation of a vehicle’s passenger safety system. “The additional point is to make sure that objects from the outside don’t intrude into your vehicle and you on the inside don’t extrude out of your vehicle.”

Saying, “Other than the notice to consumers whether a windshield has been recalibrated or not, it stops there from a consumer standpoint,” Kroeger noted how the proposal is unfriendly to Florida consumers. Shortcomings listed by Kroeger include:

  • No language prohibiting steering;
  • No provision which would require a claim on a Florida vehicle windshield to be resolved in Florida; and
  • No requirement insurance company pays … within a certain time period.

Kroeger noted larger auto safety glass replacement corporations have negotiated side agreements with insurance companies to set prices. “The larger companies, which are looking frankly to hold a monopoly in this area, have a negotiated payment. They don’t need an assignment of benefits,” Kroeger said. “What this really is doing is a death by a thousand cuts to small businesses.” The committee will pick up debate on the issue during its next scheduled meeting in December.

Watch the hearing in its entirety, or read more about this issue.

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