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Volume 7    Issue 2            March/April 2005

MailBox
     Letters

Raising California’s BAR
Dear AGRR:
Thanks for including my comments in the fine article regarding the state licensure of auto glass technicians from the November/December issue. Overall, your presentation of this controversial subject was thorough and accurate; however, I wanted to point out a rather significant clarification.

In the state of California, the Bureau of Automotive Repair (CA BAR) only licenses physical automotive repair locations, not individual associates. Obviously, this license is not a reflection of any technician’s ability or training but instead binds a company to comply with various regulations meant to assure consumer protection. These rules include providing a written estimate, securing a customer’s signature prior to beginning work on the vehicle, and returning used or defective parts for a customer’s inspection.

All automotive repair locations are required to obtain and post these licenses which must be renewed annually and are not transferable. 

A valid CA BAR certificate does not imply a safety and/or quality standard with regard to auto glass installation. Although I certainly advocate licensure to demonstrate at least a minimum commitment of an individual towards the “best practices” of our business, I’m not aware of any process such as this currently existing in auto glass at the state level.

I also agree that as an industry we need to arrive at and collectively embrace “best practices” internally, and we cannot afford to undertake a rigorous, mandatory licensure process without some guaranteed return. While I believe the AGRSS supported by the ANSI process has really provided the former, our challenge as business leaders lies with the latter.

My suggestion would be to actively lobby for an annual state vehicle inspection, or some other checkpoint mechanism to promote/verify automotive safety; this would include maintaining the glass on a car or truck as required by law. I understand the complexities and expense associated with such an undertaking; however, think of it this way: public safety is purportedly the major objective of any governing body. We are in the safety business. Why shouldn’t our goals be aligned?

James Horrox
Chief Operating Officer
The Stockton Glass Group
Stockton, Calif.

Reconciling RV Window Replacement
Dear AGRR:
I have some questions that you may find curious. When you consider that since 1992 almost all van conversion and most RV windows are reglazeable from the outside of the vehicle, replacement of the glass alone can be accomplished at a fraction of the cost of replacing the complete window unit. This also avoids what are often complicated interior issues that make these jobs undesirable ones.

With that in mind, I pose this question. Why isn’t this solution the first option when these jobs present themselves? It would appear that this is the best choice for the following.

Advantages for the consumer:
1. More shops would be willing to do the work.
2. In a large number of cases the cost of replacement (often less than $100.00) would tend to become a cash sale. My understanding is that cash sales are good for the shop.
3. In the cash sale option there is no claim so the insured’s rates are not affected by claim activity.

Advantages for the shop:
1. A cash sale: the shop is paid their quoted price based on its personal burden and overhead requirements. There is no waiting for payment and no possibility of short pay or supplemental filings.
2. Better contact with the consumer and his decision making process. This allows for improved relationship building for future needs of the customer.

Advantages for the insurance company:
1. No claim: what could be better than that?
2. When there is a claim, the satisfaction that lesser cost options have already been ruled out.

Advantages for the network:
This seems to create a problem for them. They are the only segment of the process that does not appear to benefit.
1. Without a claim there in no revenue generated;
2. With fewer claims, there is less revenue generated.

Well, a no-network option just wouldn’t work, but I do wonder that a better solution to these costs may lay in a solution similar to the repair-rather-than-replace concept. If everyone in the claim chain was encouraged with a program similar to the no deductible choice for repairing the windows by replacing glass only (rather than the complete window) it would seem that we would have a host of people who would benefit.

Sincerely,
Bob Vogelzang
President
DCM Company
Elkhart, Ind.
 


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