September/October 2000

Special Report    

Allstate to Add New Facet to
its Claims Express Program

by Debra Levy

Allstate Insurance of Northbrook, IL, will add a new facet to its Glass Claim Express program this week that could herald sweeping changes in the way auto glass replacement business is done in the future.

Titled Customized Offers, the new feature will allow glass service providers (GSPs)—repair and replacement companies that have already participated in Allstate’s Offer and Acceptance (O&A) program—to offer deeper pricing discounts in exchange for the possibility of a higher volume of work. In a letter and packet of information which will be mailed this week, Allstate’s national glass program manager Sheri Beaver invites all GSPs to participate in the new program. “… The changes in Glass Claim Express are designed to improve efficiency and deliver greater overall satisfaction to Allstate policyholders,” says Beaver.

The inauguration of customized Offers coincides with a change in claims administration announced by Allstate late last year. LYNX Services by PPG (LYNX) will take over as the glass claims administrator for the nation’s second largest auto glass insurance company at the end of this month. The contract for such administration had previously been held by Safelite Glass Corporation of Columbus, OH. LYNX will administer the entire Allstate program including Customized Offers beginning on September 20 in a roll-out staggered by states.

A Change from the Past

In an exclusive interview with AGRR magazine at the LYNX Call Center headquarters in Fort Myers, Fla., LYNX director of national sales Chris Umble detailed how the new option will work.

”LYNX entire business model is dedicated to making sure policyholder preferences are honored and that glass service providers have an opportunity to compete fairly,” said Umble, “We feel both those goals will be accomplished with this new program.”

Allstate’s previous model [under Safelite] had required that the policyholder be directed to a Safelite shop or Safelite network affiliate unless the policyholder specifically requested a particular shop. The LYNX model calls for the policyholder to be asked specifically if they have particularly shop they wish to use. “If the policyholder says yes, we will refer to that shop 100 percent of the time, no exception. The Customized Offer program doesn’t even enter into that equation” said Umble.

In the cases in which the policyholder has no preference, the Customized Option will come into play. LYNX will offer the policyholder the names of three GSPs. In the past, such referrals would have been based on a complex algorithm that pulls the three closest GSPs (based on area code and phone exchanges) that are next in rotation. Under the COO option, the first two companies chosen will be from among those companies within the vicinity which have bettered their offer. The third GSP listed will continue to be an Allstate GSP, regardless of price, who has been ‘in queue” for thelongest time since the last dispatch. The level of the discount determines the size of the pool from which the first two companies will be drawn.

For example, if the lowest discount in that pool is at 60 percent off NAGS, then the names will be drawn from shops that are within 6% points (10 percent of 60) of that offer. If the best discount is at 20 percent off, then the names will be drawn from shops that are within 2% points (10 percent of 20) of that offer.

“Being the lowest price does not guarantee you will always be presented. It does mean that your price will help define the pool, and that you will be in the pool of most competitive shops from which two will be presented.” said Umble. “Of course, this rotation will be employed only when the policyholder has no shop of preference.”

How It Will Work?

Umble said that each GSP has already agreed to accept Allstate’s offer for auto glass repair and replacement services in four different types of territories called A through D. “GSPs that wish to be enhance their offer may log-in online and move through a series of screens to enter additional discounts, shown as extra points off NAGS List Prices™. They may increase their discounts in as many or as few territories as they wish. They may also enter a reduced price for windshield repair as well,” he said. “Discounts provided for any territory must be honored in all those territories, regardless of state lines. “Companies with multi-locations need to be aware of this,” he added. “Your price for B territories is the same throughout the country,” he said. The price remains the same for all work GSPs receive through LYNX from Allstate, including those in which the customer requests a specific GSP.”

The country’s largest providers of auto glass repair and replacement services—Safelite, Harmon Autoglass, Diamond-Triumph etc.,—have participated in Allstate’s program in the past and are expected to continue to do so. Umble said that program is just being announced and there is no way of knowing which companies will or will not customize their offer. “That’s not information I or anyone else will have access to,” he said. “Glass shops will need to know their competition in much the same way as they have in the past.”

Umble said there is no limit to how often a GSP can increase its discount thereby reducing its net price. A company that decides to increase its discount and decrease its net prices, however, must agree to honor those prices for 120 days. LYNX will charge a $10 fee every time a GSP makes changes to its offer.

Companies that do not have to the Internet will be able to submit their offers manually but the charges for such changes will be $50 each time a change is made.

 

Opting Out

“The Customized Offer is an optional program,” said Umble. “Companies that have agreed to Allstate’s O&A pricing may need never deviate from it. They will still be included in the rotation and will still recieve work. But many have told us they can do better—and they’ve said the same thing to the insurance companies. ‘Just give them a chance to compete,’ now they can do so,” said Umble.

He added that Allstate will begin requiring customer satisfaction surveys and will track consumer satisfaction ratings of all glass shops to which it refers work. Allstate has indicated that it may one day revoke participation in the Glass Claims Express program for poor customer satisfaction ratings.

Umble said Allstate and LYNX will be providing information about the program during the next few weeks. A special seminar featuring LYNX representatives has been added to the educational seminars at Glass TEXpo, to be held September 22-23 in San Antonio, TX, and Glass Expo Midwest 2000 to be held in Chicago, October 20-21. Interested individuals can register online. Additional information about the new Allstate program can be found online at http://www.lynxservices.com in the owner/officer secured area. LYNX has also set up a voice prompted automated answer line, which can be accessed by dialing 941-479-6000 and pressing 3. The next issue of AGRR magazine will also contain a complete update and reaction.

 

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