House Approves Automobile Glass Bill In Attempt To Help Small Businesses

by Categorized: General Assembly Date:

When you\’re driving down the road behind a dump truck, sometimes a rock kicks up and bangs into your windshield.

\"smashedSome state legislators don\’t want insurance companies steering drivers into using any particular company to replace the auto glass.

Today, there are 34 independent, small mom-and-pop shops in Connecticut that replace auto glass. That\’s down from about 70 such shops about 15 years ago.

A bill approved Tuesday by the state House of Representatives \”prohibits insurers from requiring where an automobile has to have their glass replaced or repaired,\’\’ said state Rep. Robert Megna, the co-chairman of the legislature\’s insurance and real estate committee.

The bill was approved by 107 to 38 on a bipartisan basis as four Democrats joined with 34 Republicans against the measure.

Overall, the automotive glass industry is \”probably represented by five third-party claims administrators,\’\’ Megna said.

\”You can\’t tell an individual … to have their automobile glass replaced at a particular shop. Kind of what we do when it comes to autobody work,\’\’ Megna told his colleagues on the House floor. \”It\’s a small thing. The installation is essentially the same. However, there are many small businesses – competitively priced – that can undertake the work. You have these small businesses that are disappearing. … What this does is help out those small businesses from disappearing. … Many of them are disappearing by this behavior.\’\’

Megna, who said that 20 small businesses had testified in front of the insurance committee on House Bill 5072, said three of the benefits of the bill were to \”provide consumers with choice, keep an insurer from having an unfair advantage and keep these small businesses in business.\’\’ He added, \”This is the evolution of an existing statute.\’\’

Describing them as \”small claims,\’\’ Megna said the prices are normally $300 to $400.

The subtext of the debate, insiders said, is that two former House Speakers – James Amann and Richard Balducci – have been working behind the scenes for different sides on the automotive glass issue.

Rep. Rob Sampson, a Wolcott Republican who opposed the bill, said that the state\’s insurance department said in testimony that the legislation was unnecessary.

\”If there\’s a problem to be solved, I don\’t see where it is,\’\’ said Sampson, the ranking House Republican on the insurance committee who debated the steering statute that is known as 38 (a) – 354. \”I don\’t believe it is the business of this body or government in general\’\’ to get involved in the auto glass issue.

He added, \”I think it\’s going to hurt consumers. … There are no complaints at the insurance department. I don\’t think it\’s going to work. This bill tells private businesses that they have to refer other private businesses.\’\’

After a long response by Megna at one point, Sampson said, \”Forgive me. I didn\’t really follow the chairman\’s answer.\’\’

House Republican leader Larry Cafero of Norwalk said there is a fear that the third-party administrators, known as TPAs, \”will steer the business to their guys.\’\’

Cafero said that a consumer might want to say, \”I want to go to Cafero\’s glass shop or I want to go to Megna\’s glass shop or somebody else\’s glass shop.\’\’

The Courant is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on courant.com articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.

10 thoughts on “House Approves Automobile Glass Bill In Attempt To Help Small Businesses

  1. Lawrence

    So you’ve got 70 percent of Republican House members voting against a bill designed to benefit small, local businesses??

    We gotta problem, Houston….

    1. Connecticut is Circling the Drain

      Huh? It wouldn’t matter if 100% of Republicans voted against any measure- they are outnumbered in both houses by Democrats.

      Democrats in this state could really help small businesses by not taxing and regulating them to death.

      Meanwhile, in realityville, we still have a $1.2B annual deficit in our state budget. Is it any wonder when legislators are consumed with this chickens**t?

      1. Disgusted former Democrat

        Amen! But blame the GOP for all ills and ignore the Democrat debt after the biggest tax increase in state history is wearing thin. Want an Obama phone?

    2. johngaltwhereru

      No concern for why the Republicans opposed this bill Larry?

      Let’s start with the premise that if the Democrats in the CT legislature are in favor of a bill, it is not in the interest of any business, small or large. The one exception being if there is a direct crony relationship between one or more Democrats and that business.

      There were 2 reasons the 2 Republicans quoted in this story gave for opposing the bill. Did you read those, or just assume they were trying to hurt small businesses.

  2. Doug Hageman (@A_C_R)

    The “small” businesses that replace windshields do so at a price that normally runs 2 to 3 times what the larger national companies charge.

    Don’t believe it?
    Call around.

    1. CSquare

      Doug is right. So this bill will require that insurance companies pay a higher price for the glass replacement. That higher cost will be borne by all the customers of the insurance company since rates are based on costs. This bill results in a subsidy of a handful of businesses paid for by you and me. It is very similar to a tax.

    2. GLASSSGOD

      You are clueless dude, the insurance companies tell us all to the penny what we can charge so your little statement is misguided and misinformed

  3. Rick

    Doug is so wrong these bills being passed do nothing for prices for the Insurance companies and they have set prices that they will pay if we do not agree to the prices they inform the insured that they may have to pay out of pocket any additional charges. Every year everything rises. Taxes get raised,health Insurance premuims go higher,gas gets more exspensive,everything goes up except what the insurance pay for glass ever years the take a bigger and bigger discount on the price of glass. We in the Auto Glass businesses just want a even playing field.
    I have set up claims with TPA that we must call the claim in to and they explain they need to talk to the insured and they try to tell them where to take thier vehicles to. Yet the TPA is a Glass company.

  4. Doug Hageman (@A_C_R)

    We in the Auto Glass businesses just want a even playing field.”

    Then don’t try to collect sales tax from licensed car dealers, don’t charge 321.00 for a windshield that Diamond/Triumph/Safelite charges 189 for (and backs against leaks forever) and show up the same day (usually in under 2 hours).

Comments are closed.