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January/February  2004

AGRReports
    breaking news

COMPANIES

Mitchell Reorganizes; 
Howard Becomes Consultant

Mitchell International will soon announce a sweeping reorganization that moves National Auto Glass Specifications International (NAGS) from its own business unit into a new unit dedicated to special products. Jesse Herrera will lead the new division as general manager. Catherine Howard will serve as a consultant to NAGS for an as yet undetermined length of time.

The new division will include both NAGS and AutocheX. Herrera previously ran AutoCheX.

AutocheX is a service whereby customers contract to have their customers surveyed by telephone by professional interviewers.

In the AutocheX system, agents introduce themselves as calling from AutocheX on behalf of the company. These services are used heavily by the insurance 
industry, particularly in the collision arena of the insurance industry.

EVENTS
Yellow Page Expert to Speak at 2004 Regional Glass Expos
Barry Maher, the nation’s expert on designing effective yellow-page ads, will serve as the keynote speaker for a number of regional glass expos organized by Key Communications this year, including the International Window Film Conference and Expo™ in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., March 4-6; Glass Expo Niagara™, to be held at Niagara Falls June 3-4; Glass TEXpo™, which will be held in Galveston, Texas, October 1-2; and Glass Expo Midwest™ in Milwaukee, Wis., October 14-15.

Maher, the author of Filling the Glass: The Skeptic’s Guide to Positive Thinking in Business and Getting the Most from Your Yellow Pages Advertising, hopes to provide some tips to attendees on this important topic for both window film and auto glass shops.

When asked what attendees will gain from attending his seminar, Maher answered, “Hopefully they’ll figure out what directories they need to advertise in, how to figure out what headings to advertise under, strategies for getting the best ad sizes for their money and how to design ads that will call them away from other ads saying similar things.”

Maher also plans to spend some one-on-one time with attendees discussing their yellow-page ads and how they can make them more effective.
Info www.glass.com

LEGAL

Court Issues Stipulation Brief in Response to Filings in Diamond Triumph-Safelite Anti-Steering Suit
The United States District Court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania in Scranton, Pa., has issued a response to the numerous requests for documents in the landmark anti-steering case filed by Kingston, Pa.-based Diamond Triumph Auto Glass (DT) against Columbus, Ohio-based Safelite Glass Corp., along with the insurers’ request for a joint motion for a protective order.

With respect to DT’s specific request for “all documents concerning, referencing and/or mentioning DT or any of the insureds mentioned in the complaint,” the judge ruled that Safelite must produce the documents, provided that the insurance companies involved determine that the data does not and cannot be used to identify any individual insurer or policyholder. 

In response to DT’s request for documents concerning the terms of insurer agreements, including documents created during the negotiation phase of the agreements, Munley writes that Safelite shall not withhold any documents that discuss the insurers’ expectations regarding consumer choice of vendor and steering of insureds to Safelite from other vendors in any form.

As to DT’s request to receive “all agreements between Safelite and insurers concerning the taking of first-notice-of-loss calls, the dispatch of mobile service and/or the scheduling of services after taking first-notice-of-loss calls,” the court ruled that Safelite shall not withhold any items that discuss the topics of consumer choice of vendor, steering (as described in DT’s original March 2002 complaint) or the dispatch of mobile service and/or the scheduling of services after taking the first-notice-of-loss calls.

In addition, DT had requested “all scripts, including rebuttal scripts, utilized by Safelite either for incoming or outgoing calls.” On this, the court ruled that “Safelite shall not withhold on the basis of the insurers’ objections any script information ...”

In response to DT’s request for “all documents concerning what data is collected from callers making first-notice-of-loss calls answered by Safelite,” the court wrote that “Safelite shall not withhold on the basis of insurers’ objections any memoranda or correspondence between Safelite and the insurers regarding the fields of data Safelite is or should be collecting, provided that Safelite shall not produce information identified by the Insurers as protected by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and/or applicable state privacy laws or pricing information.”

To DT’s request for documents that establish the scripts Safelite submits as fact, the court ordered that this request will not be considered until DT has reviewed the scripts and has determined which “statements” it seeks, and the insurers involved will then decide whether they object to turning over these documents.

In DT’s final request for “all documents concerning Safelite’s process for verifying claims when Safelite is identified by or on behalf of the consumer as a vendor of choice to perform auto glass work” and “all documents concerning Safelite’s process for verifying claims when Safelite is not identified by or on behalf of the consumer as a vendor of choice to perform auto glass work,” the court ruled that Safelite should turn over all of these documents unless the insurers involved object.

In regard to DT’s request to obtain certain documents, namely their contractual agreements with Safelite, from the insurers involved in the case, filed by DT in April 2002, Judge James Munley has ruled that the insurance companies will not have to produce any documents directly to DT. However, the judge notes in his brief, “The production of documents responsive to the document requests will be by Safelite, not the insurers, after each insurer has had a maximum of 60 days from the date of receiving each document from Safelite to review said document or documents.”

At this time, no court date is set for this case. 

AGRR

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