In the mean time, the commissioner has issued his Bi-Annual Report of the TDI to the Legislature. In the 70 Page report, one of the items that specifically pertains to collision repair in TX can be found on page 39 of the report:
Direct Repair Facilities
• TDI conducted a survey in May, 2010 of the top five personal automobile insurers in Texas to obtain current information relating to automobile claim payments.
• Of the insurers surveyed, all had some sort of contract/agreement with direct repair facilities or had selected repair facilities to be on a preferred list (preferred shops).
• Based upon the survey responses, for calendar year 2009 the percentage of initial automobile claims with repairs made at direct repair facilities ranged from approximately 18% to 50%.
• The Insurance Code specifically addresses prohibited acts in connection with the repair of motor vehicles.
• The Texas Administrative Code addresses notice requirements and claimants’ rights regarding motor vehicle repairs.
TDI HAS RECEIVED COMPLAINTS that insurers improperly “steer” claimants to particular repair shops (direct repair facilities/preferred shops). Such action can restrict consumer choice. TDI has also received complaints that insurers are informing claimants that they may be responsible to pay for certain repair costs if the claimant selects a repair facility that is not on the insurer’s list of direct repair facilities.
Current law does not provide consistent regulation among insurers. For example, county mutual insurers, which represent approximately 45% of the Texas personal automobile insurance market, are not re quired to comply with the statutes and rules regarding the repair of motor vehicles.
Additionally, there may not be a clear understanding among the participants of the requirements to become a contracted direct repair facility with an automobile in surer.