New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed House Bill 664, a measure focused on the standard of automobile repairs, citing a concern that the legislation could lead to an increase in the cost of auto insurance.
“New Hampshire citizens enjoy among the lowest auto insurance premium costs in the country,” Sununu said in an official veto letter. “This bill would increase the cost of auto insurance premiums by limiting the ability of insurers to negotiate what is reasonable in the repair process.”
Sununu also said the bill would harm “smaller independent repair shops” and limit consumer options for insurance without making any meaningful improvement in safety.
According to a fiscal note prepared for lawmakers, the legislation was designed to ensure that insurance companies fully pay claims when work on a vehicle is done in full compliance with industry standards.
"This bill makes it an unfair insurance practice for an insurance company, agent, or adjuster to knowingly fail to pay a claim to the claimant or repairer to the extent the claimant's vehicle is repaired in conformance with applicable manufacturers procedures," the fiscal note reads. "The bill also requires insurers to reimburse repairers for paint materials in accordance with non-specific third party recommended procedures."
The fiscal note includes the concern that the New Hampshire Insurance Department would likely have to hire an additional full-time staffer to field calls from insurance companies seeking information about compliance with the law.
In a statement, New Hampshire Insurance Department Commissioner John Elias expressed optimism that the veto wouldn't be the end of the discussion.
"The New Hampshire Insurance Department knows that the intentions behind this bill were good,” Elias said. “All of the parties worked very hard to come to an agreement. The Department feels that the same parties, with sufficient time in the future, will be able to work together to ensure that the bill can be designed to fulfill the important interest of industry and consumers in a way that is consistent with the original intent of the sponsors."
This is the 51st bill Sununu has vetoed, according to Veto Tracker.