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January/February 2002

Insurance talk

Progressive Tries “Concierge” Program; Loses Case Filed by Glass Service Co.
Progressive Insurance, which is based in Mayfield Village, Ohio, has implemented a new collision service called the “Concierge” program. Under the terms of this program, if a Progressive policyholder needs collision damage repaired, he can take his car to the nearest Progressive location and obtain a rental car until his car is repaired. Then, Progressive will estimate the damage and take the car to a shop agreeing to do the work for the insurer’s set price. The shop must then pick up the car from Progressive and must return it once it is restored to pre-loss condition. However, the shop must agree that during the time it is working on the vehicle, it is only to have contact with Progressive—not with the policyholder. In addition, before completing any work, Progressive requires a contract be signed indemnifying Progressive and all other parties from any legal action relating to the repair, providing the shop with a great liability in the event of a customer complaint.

Progressive is testing the program in Bedford, Ohio, Orlando, Fla., Philadelphia, Pa., and Richmond, Va., currently.

In other news at Progressive, Minneapolis-based Glass Service Co. recently prevailed over the insurance company in a case about short payments incurred since April 1997. Glass Service Co. won $14,974.59, plus costs and disbursements. According to the court ruling, “Glass Service established that its prices are within a reasonable range given the quality of materials it uses and the caliber of its installers.” It continues, “Progressive breached its contract with its insureds by failing to pay all reasonable costs to repair or replace the property with other property of like kind and quality.”

Erie Begins Writing in Wisconsin
Erie Insurance Group, which is based in Erie, Pa., has begun writing insurance policies in the state of Wisconsin. The company has opened a branch office there in Waukesha, in addition to 30 independent agencies throughout the state. The company now offers business in 11 states—including Wisconsin—and Washington, D.C.

LYNX Services Enters Collision Arena; Expands Electronic Services
LYNX Services by PPG of Pittsburgh is expanding its services to include claims management and first notice of loss for collision claims. The company will begin operation of this venture after January 1 in certain markets. If successful, LYNX will expand the program to the entire nation.

Currently, the company is accepting applications for auto physical damage claims adjusters to “interact with policyholders and clients, providing superior customer service during the information exchange and analysis of alternative courses of action,” according to an ad the company placed on the popular job-search website www.monster.com.

These adjusters will be responsible for determining coverage, setting loss reserves, investigating and settling claims in a cost-effective manner while complying with all federal and state regulations and service standards.

In addition to this change, PPG and its wholly-owned subsidiary, GTS Services, have launched a group of electronic services that they say will help auto glass retailers manage and grow their businesses by connecting them with claims providers and distributors and reducing the cost and time of managing insurance claims. According to Jim Latch, president of LYNX Services by PPG and general manager of insurance and services, those who participate in the new program will receive work assignments from LYNX Services through their point-of-sale software, glaspacLX™ (see September-October 2001 AGRR, page 55, for related story).

"[In this program] retailers spend less time on the phone and do not have to enter work assignment information manually," Latch said.

In addition, Latch said the electronic system reduces billing errors that often occur if information on an invoice does not match the information in claim providers' systems.

Through their GTS systems, retailers will soon be able to submit authorization requests electronically, to cut down on phone calls to claims providers and to insure accuracy of the information entered.

 

 

AGRR

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