Friday, 31 March 2006 17:00

OK industry group meets with insurance commissioner on steering

Written by Autobody News staff
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Twenty-five concerned Oklahoma collision repairers including representatives from the Oklahoma Auto Body Association (OKABA) recently met with Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland about insurer steering. 

The group explained to Commissioner Holland that the steering "allegation" is not limited to Oklahoma. In preparation for the hearing, shop owner Danny Myers of Tulsa collected articles from national trade publications that explicitly describe this as an issue all over the country.

The inquiry was not limited to the word tracks used by insurers, but also the insurer's market share in a given area compared to the number of repair shops used by that insurer in that area. This comparison showed how insurers steer much of their business to a limited few repairers in a market area.

The group told the commissioner that if an insurer has a certain percentage of business in a given market, without hardcore steering that insurer's business would be fairly equally distributed throughout the shops in that market - which today it is not.

"We were confident with our case and it was well received," said Gary Wano, Jr. OKABA president. "The rebuttal from Commissioner Holland was not contrary to our research. She agreed that based on our evidence it could be construed that steering was taking place, but what we presented as evidence was not fully supported by Oklahoma statutes.

"We were astounded as Commissioner Holland explained that the same statutes we supplied in our argument can be interpreted in a fashion that actually supports the insurer's actions," said Wano.

"It will take the full cooperation of every repairer in Oklahoma to stop steering. Prepare yourself to go to the capitol building. If you want change, you will have to invest the time," declared Wano.

To join the fight against steering, join the Oklahoma Auto Body Association. Contact Gary Wano at garywano@gwandsons.com.

"OKABA is staying on top of this issue, but as a precaution you can always write to Commissioner Holland and your legislators to express dissent against steering."


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