BOSTON, MA --- The Massachusetts Legislature's House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill that would prohibit an auto insurer from requiring, suggesting, requesting or recommending any appraisals or repairs be made at a specified registered repair facility.

The legislation now awaits a vote by the state Senate.

The bill includes some of the strongest anti-steering language ever drafted and addresses not only auto body steering, but glass company steering and rental car steering issues as well.

In addition, the bill would authorize Massachusetts repair shops to send, and insurers to approve, supplemental requests via the Internet rather than the current personal inspection requirement.

If passed, the legislation would also make it illegal for insurers to offer to warranty or guarantee repairs. In addition, the bill would require repair shops to increase their equipment requirements for licensure and require the commissioner of insurance to conduct a "market conduct" study by the end of this year.

The legislation, House Bill 5056, is strongly backed by the Massachusetts Auto Body Association.  

"Massachusetts recently passed laws promoted by Gov. Patrick to encourage competition in the insurance industry," said MABA spokesman Stephen Regan. "House Bill 5056 is the final piece of that puzzle and will complement the governor's initiative by creating more competition, more products, and better services by collision repairers and other segments of our industry."