House Bill No. 543

Introduced By schmidt, prouse, stovall, ryan, beck, tuss, keenan, brainard, pavlovich, foster, ohs, sliter, wagner, swysgood, crismore, ahner, devaney, anderson, gillan, mcculloch, ewer, harrington, lawson, mood, wells, tash, pease, menahan, krenzler, bookout-reinicke, tropila



A Bill for an Act entitled: An Act prohibiting an insurance company from requiring an insured person to use a specific automobile body repair shop; and providing an immediate effective date.



Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:



Section 1.  Designation of specific automobile body repair shops prohibited. (1) An insurance company, including its producers and adjusters, that issues or renews a policy of insurance in this state covering, in whole or in part, a motor vehicle may not:

(a) require that a person insured under the policy use a particular automobile repair business or location; or

(b) engage in any act or practice that intimidates, coerces, or threatens an insured person or provides an incentive or inducement for an insured person to use a particular automobile repair business or location.

(2) For the purposes of this section, an incentive or inducement does not include:

(a) providing an insured person or a customer with a list of all established automobile repair businesses or locations reasonably close to the insured person or customer that offer a warranty for the automobile repair services provided by the businesses or locations;

(b) providing an insured person or a customer with a list of particular body shops meeting reasonable standards of quality, service, and safety when the list is requested by the insured person or customer; or

(c) referring to a warranty issued by an automobile repair business or location.

(3) The insured may use a business or location at the insured's sole discretion, and the insurance company shall pay for the reasonable and necessary cost of the automobile body repair services for covered damages, less any deductible under the terms of the policy. This section does not require an insurer to pay more for automobile body repair services than the lowest prevailing market price, as defined in 33-18-222.

(4) If the insured person uses an automobile repair business or location not on a list provided under subsection (2)(a) or (2)(b), the insurance company may not be held liable for any repair work performed by the automobile repair business or location that the insured person chooses to use.

(5) It is unlawful for an automobile repair business or location to charge or agree to charge an insured customer more than an uninsured customer for any automobile repair service.

(6) An insurance company that contracts with an independent adjuster may not be held liable for the independent adjuster's failure to comply with the terms of this section.

(7) For purposes of this section, "automobile repair business or location" does not include a business or location that exclusively provides automobile glass replacement, glass repair services, or glass products.



Section 2.  Codification instruction. [Section 1] is intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 33, chapter 18, part 2, and the provisions of Title 33, chapter 18, part 2, apply to [section 1].



Section 3.  Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.

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