Rhode Island Fines Allstate Over Consumer Choice in Car Repair

December 14, 2009

Rhode Island regulators have fined a major insurance company $5,000 for allegedly interfering with a driver’s right to choose his own garage for repair work.

The Department of Business Regulation determined that Allstate Insurance Co. violated the law that bars insurance companies from “interfering with the insured’s or claimant’s free choice of repair facility.”

A department hearing officer ruled that an Allstate claims representative told a man that the auto body shop where he wanted work done was not approved.

Allstate argued that it didn’t violate the law because it never recommended a specific shop for the repairs. The hearing officer said the law also prohibits insurance companies from interfering with consumer choice.

Allstate has until Dec. 20 to appeal.

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