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September/October  2004

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Answer the Question
Dear AGRR:
I would like to ask you to cover a topic that I can’t recall ever reading about in any trade magazine. The topic I feel that needs to be discussed among your readers and various glass associations is “what constitutes a repairable windshield?”

All of us are familiar with bulls-eyes, star breaks and combination breaks—the type of damage I would assume we’d all agree has the potential, if not repaired, to spread and crack. So what about a pit? What do we do about this minor, superficial, white, pulverized, impact point? We all get them and we all breath a sigh of relief as we glance at our windshield and only detect a little ping, and say “thank God” it didn’t break my windshield.
Yet, many in our industry gladly charge the insurance carriers $50 dollars to “repair” that “pit.” We all know glass companies that do it. They are sitting in car washes, gas stations, lube-and-oil shops, mini markets, etc., soliciting unsuspecting policyholders to file a claim. “Save your windshield, save money, repair now—it’s free!”
The scary part is that the insurance carriers know full well the tactics and practices of these companies. They know they are being ripped off. I’ve spoke to many of their investigators and they are frustrated and furious because there is no standard, no reputable clarification of what distinguishes a repairable break from a minor pit.
If your readers agree with me that a pit is not a broken windshield, has no potential to spread or crack, then why is our industry allowing those companies that promote these activities to jeopardize our integrity and our potential existence?

If you’re an insurance carrier and you know your being ripped off by million and millions of dollars, what would you do? Raise deductibles? Stop paying for windshield repairs?

I believe they are formulating the answer to that question right now. If we allow the insurance carriers to police our own industry we all lose.

Lynx and Safelite lose because there will be fewer invoices for which they can charge administrative fees.
Windshield repair manufacturers and wholesalers lose because repairs now become a cash commodity and many glass shops will fold since they can’t survive without billing insurance repair rates.

The solution is easy. Answer the question: “Does a minor pit constitute a broken windshield?”

If the answer is no, as I believe it is, then some entity, manufacturer or the National Windshield Repair Association needs to take a stand. 

Until a standard or an industry statement of clarification is made regarding what constitutes a broken windshield, then doing pit repairs is not fraud. Until that question is answered, we will continue to compete with glass companies that are, at best, unethical. That alone says a lot about our industry and why the time is now to answer the question.

If we don’t, if we are afraid to offend the minority of unethical glass shops in our industry, then the insurance carriers will decide our fate.

Gary Gifford, owner
Maverick Glass
Glendale, Ariz.
Editor’s Note: Look for coverage on this issue in the next issue of AGRR.

ON THE BOARDS
The following are exerpts of conversations on the AGRR message boards. To view full discussions or add your thoughts visit www. agrrmag.com.

How Long Does it Take?
On average how long does it take to process a claim? I just spoke with a Farmers insured who asked for 
dealer glass on a Lexus sc430. “HelpPoint” was not all helpful. I was on the phone for 15 minutes and had to leave a message with a supervisor. I make too much money to sit on the phone all day. A CSR makes too much money to sit and process 4 jobs per hour. I am documenting this and I want to hear more. 

All I want to know is how much Farmers Insurance a.k.a Help Point a.k.a Safelite is going to pay me to do this job.

TG
Editors Note: This message has 7 replies and has been viewed 92 times.

Windshield Replacement Costs – From Down Under
You guys don’t know how good you have it with your prices. In Melbourne, Australia, the average car dealer price is around $130.00 Australian (approximately $90.00 U.S.) supplied and fitted. Retail is $165.00 Australian ($100.00 US). I would love to get 50 percent of the money your companies make to supply and fit a windshield.

John
Editor’s Note: This message has been viewed 50 times. 

AGRR

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