VOLUME 6 - ISSUE 6  
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2004

WGReports
repair news

NWRA/NGA Repair Standard Committee Holds First Meeting
    Thursday, September 9 marked the first meeting of the newly formed standard’s committee for the creation of a windshield repair standard. A joint effort of the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA), and the National Glass Association (NGA), the NWRA/NGA Repair of Automotive Glass Standards (RAGS) Committee met to work on the administrative aspect of the planned standard and begin work on the language to be used in writing the standard.

    “It’s a very good, diverse group. We have representation from Pilkington, LYNX Services, IGA and many windshield manufacturers, distributors and repair providers,” said Peg Stroka, of the NWRA. “It couldn’t have gone better.”

    Officers were elected and other administrative procedures were handled before the committee got into defining the windshield repair language to be used.

    “It was the basic place to start, with those definitions,” Stroka said.

    She further explained that insurance companies, government agencies, the National Automobile Dealers’ Association, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and other associations, such as AAA, were solicited to join, but many declined, saying that though interested in the standard, they felt it was something the auto glass industry had to create on its own. 

    Stroka stressed that the committee is still open and people who are still interested in getting involved with the committee should contact her via e-mail at nwra@netrax.net or by phone at 717/985-1501.

NWRA and AGRR Magazine to Survey Windshield Repair Industry
   
AGRR magazine and NWRA have announced a cooperative research project to provide a benchmark survey of industry ratios and other information for the windshield repair industry and for windshield repair profit centers in auto glass replacement and body shops. Survey results will be available free of charge to all NWRA members who participate.

    “This survey is designed to help repair companies compare themselves against industry statistics,” said NWRA president Paul Syfko. “It’s hard to know how you are doing unless you know how others are doing.”

    The survey will also provide information about how much the average repair company spends on labor, materials, advertising and marketing, owner compensation and more. This survey will be repeated every two years and historical information about the industry kept as well.

    Members of the repair industry should watch their mail for survey form in the later part of November. All information will be pooled and no information connected with your company will ever be released or eve kept. If you would like to participate in the survey you can sign up online at http://www.agrrmag.com/register.php.

Connecticut Lets Licensing Stand As Is
   
The Connecticut Automotive Glass Work and Flat Glass Work Examining Board, which had been reviewing the issue of mandated licensing for automotive glass repair shops, chose to accept and forward a proposal developed by Kurt Muller of Auto Glass Express, Robert Steben of Ed Steben Glass and John Wisniewski of Payless Auto Glass to the Commissioner of Consumer Protection, Edwin R. Rodriguez. The committee also chose to forward to Rodriguez a proposal on the subject drafted by the NWRA without endorsing it.

    With regard to the Commissioner’s decision, AGRR magazine received a copy of a memo from the Automotive Glass Work and Flat Glass Work Examining Board in Connecticut. Addressed to all board members, the memo was sent by Robert M. Kuzmich, R. A., license and applications specialist and glass board administrator. The reference line reads: Decision from Commissioner regarding limited license for windshield repair work and the body of the memo instructs readers to an attachment.

    The attachment, on letterhead bearing the state seal and issuing from the Department of Consumer Protection, reads as follows:

Edwin R. Rodriguez
Commissioner
July 26, 2004
Paul Syfko
President
National Windshield Repair Association
1251 Eisenhower Boulevard
Harrisburg, PA 17111

Dear Mr. Syfko,

Please be advised that after a careful review of the issues and discussions with members of my staff, it appears that the current license structure in Connecticut is sufficient to cover both replacement and repair of windshields. Our licensing structure is designed to protect consumers by ensuring that only those highly skilled craftsmen in the state learn the entire scope of automotive glass work in order to obtain a license to perform work in this area. Further, due to the fact that there is limited research in this area of automotive glass work, the department will not promulgate regulations at this time.

I thank you for your interest in this matter.

Sincerely,

Edwin R. Rodriguez 

Cc:     Ronald Angelo, Deputy Commissioner
        Richard Hurlburt, Director, Occupational and Professional 
       
Licensing Division
        Elisa Nahas, Principal Attorney, Legal Division
        Vanessa L. Ramierez, Legislative and Administrative Advisor

GEICO Issues Consumer Alert for Fraudulent Glass Repair Companies

    On September 28, 2004, GEICO issued a consumer alert to California area policyholders regarding what it calls “fraudulent glass repair shops.” The alert, disseminated through the PRNewswire, defines fraudulent glass companies as those who operate by doing improper repairs, causing cracks or chips to spread and possibly causing further damage that would require replacement of windshields or windows.

    The company states that it considers these practices a form of fraud because the claims for repairs become inflated by the companies who knowingly make repairs incorrectly.
“We’re particularly concerned about the potential safety hazard for our policyholders and for consumers,” said Steve Rutzebeck, GEICO’s director of claims security, special investigative unit.
GEICO’s general manager for centralized services, Suzanne Worthen added, “We need to make sure that our customers are well educated on the practice of these shops. They should always contact their insurance company first before letting anyone repair their vehicle.”

    The National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) issued a statement to AGRR magazine regarding the consumer alert. 
“The NWRA shares the insurance industry’s concern about improper auto glass replacement and repair practices. The best way to insure proper practices is for consumers to protect themselves is to patronize auto glass replacement and repair companies that employ NWRA-certified technicians. The windshield repair industry is developing criteria for insurers to differentiate between cosmetic windshield damage and structural windshield damage,” stated Dave Taylor, NWRA secretary in the written statement.

    GEICO issued a similar alert to residents in Louisiana again on October 14.