Windshield Replacement Auto glass legislation pits two former House Speakers against each other
Rob Houglum Media Press Team Sunday, April 01, 2012
Auto glass legislation pits 2 former House Speakers against each other
Two previous House Speakers turned lobbyists are facing off over a bill regulating auto glass, legislation that has escaped extensive attention amid controversial debates on the death penalty, spirits regulations and teacher tenure.
The bill making the Speaker vs. Speaker clash is H.B. 5231. It would need insurance firms to provide a listing of auto glass shops rather than referring a purchaser to one specific shop.
Under current law, insurers are required to ask customers if they've got a preferred glass shop and, if the client doesn't , can suggest one.
This is an argumentative issue because Safelite Solutions, a division of auto glass company Safelite, has contracts to administer auto glass claims for insurers. Therefore , when purchasers of customer insurance companies call to report a broken window, Safelite Solutions takes the call.
If a purchaser has no preferred auto glass dealer, Safelite Solutions can refer purchasers to Safelite.
Richard Balducci, vice president of Doyle, D'Amour & Balducci, represents Safelite and opposes the bill. An established representative of Newington in the legislature who now lives in Deep Stream, Balducci served as Speaker twenty years ago.
James Amann represents the corporations that support the bill, including Pay Less Auto Glass, The Whalley Glass Company, Plymouth Auto Glass, Auto Tumbler of New England Hamden and Countrywide Glass & Mirror, according to state ethics filings.
Pay Less Auto Glass was one of Amann's first clients, according to the Connecticut Mirror.
James Amann, who represented Milford, served as Speaker of the House from 2005 to 2008, immediately preceding current Speaker Chris Donovan, D-Meriden.
Amann formed his lobbying firm, World Govt Methods, after a $120,000 gig advising Donovan slipped through. He didn't respond to an email looking for comment.
Balducci said "when you disrobe the bill" the object is to get at Safelite, his customer, because "they're the massive guy."
"What they would like us to do is more or less to publicize for them," he explained . "They need us to present a list. Our guys would then become liable."
"We are trying to continue our business as everybody can continue theirs," he claimed.
Balducci related both the state Insurance Dep. and insurance corporations in Connecticut oppose the bill. "There's no complaint from patrons on this," he said.
"We assist in saving consumers money by shortcutting the process," Balducci claimed.
Balducci said clients have the opportunity to go to any shop if they have got a preference, but if Safelite Solutions provides a list, it feels like an endorsement.
"We become responsible for making this recommendation," he claimed.
Balducci asserted he laughed thinking of the bill as a competition between him and Amann or "Jimmy" as Balducci called him.
"He's a lobbyist. I am a lobbyist," Balducci said. "We're just like anyone else up there. No large difference."
Tags: Windshield Replacement, Auto Glass Repair, Zip Glass Network, Windshield Repair, Auto Glass, Glass Repair Service.