Volume 8,  Issue 4                                   July/August  2006

WGRReports
repair news

COMPANIES
Public Safety Vehicles in Hagerstown Getting Free Windshield Repairs
The next time a Hagerstown police car, fire truck, or EMT vehicle gets a crack or chip in its windshield or other glass surface, it won't cost taxpayers a penny to have it fixed. Cindy Rowe Auto Glass, which recently opened a location in Hagerstown, will repair such damage for free.

"We wanted to do something to help the community," says Cindy Rowe, founder and chief executive officer of Cindy Rowe Auto Glass. "Any Hagerstown emergency vehicle can pull into our Hagerstown location and have the repair made while they wait. If you don't fix minor damage, it can turn into a major expense." 

Mayor Robert Bruchey says he is thankful for Rowe's generosity. 

"Without businesses such as Cindy Rowe Auto Glass, agencies that are charged with the safety of our citizens would not be able to fund needed equipment," says Bruchey. "It is vital for the community and the city to work together to keep Hagerstown a safe and great place to live, work and visit." 

GlasWeld Holds Glass Repair Open House and Demonstrations 
GlasWeld, manufacturer and international supplier of glass repair equipment headquartered in Bend, Ore., held an open house at its new east coast office located in Raleigh, N.C., on Tuesday, June 6.

The open house took place at GlasWeld East, located at 8601 Six Forks Road, Suite 400 in Raleigh. Attendees were able to learn about the benefits of glass repair and how it works. The open house included demonstrations and information on scratch removal and windshield repair. 

INSURANCE
State Farm Defendant in Repair Suit
In the first case of its kind directly related to the auto glass repair industry, State Farm Insurance has been named the defendant in a class-action lawsuit alleging damages for encouraging policyholders to have windshields repaired rather than replaced.

The suit, filed in February 2005, alleges that by including language in insurance policies that “has been used in at least some of the insuring agreements offering to waive the deductible if the windshield is repaired,” that State Farm failed to meet its contractual obligation. The allegations hinge on the long-standing industry debate: does windshield repair restore the glass to its pre-loss condition? In this case, the plaintiff doesn’t think so.

Among the arguments presented to prove breach of contract, Plaintiff Michael E. Cullen and his attorneys state that by repairing the windshield the insurer “has avoided paying numerous insureds for the cost of replacing the glass (less applicable deductibles).” The Plaintiff also argues that “[-t]he insuring agreements do not afford State Farm the unilateral right to elect to conduct repairs or replacements at its own expense” and that “all persons who paid premiums to State Farm with the reasonable expectation that State Farm would fully compensate them for their loss, thereby making them whole except for any applicable deductible.”

The plaintiffs further allege that State Farm “has engaged in a course of conduct in establishing claims practices designed to conceal its contractual obligations and avoid paying for the full restoration of its policyholders’ windshield glass.”

Cullen and others related to the suit opine that a windshield repair does not restore a windshield to the same standard as a new windshield, stating in the initial class action complaint that “State Farm’s longstanding policy has been to ‘repair’ chipped or cracked windshields with a chemical compound that is known to be incapable [of] restoring the glass to its pre-loss condition” and they argue that “no policyholder would knowingly agree to allow State Farm to patch a windshield instead of tendering a check for replacing the windshield.”

“State Farm has been aware, or should have been aware, that the chemical patch is only temporary, not entirely translucent, and incapable of restoring the windshield to its pre-accident condition,” says the brief.

The plaintiff, represented by W. Craig Bashein and Paul W. Flowers, both in Cleveland, is seeking class-action status for the case going back to February 1990.

While the news took the repair industry by surprise, at least one person isn’t too worried about the suit having a negative effect on the trade.

“The problem doesn’t have anything to do with windshield repair,” said Dee Berge-Morse of Dee’s Windshield Repair in Westminister, Calif. “It sounds like it might be a problem with State Farm’s language more than anything to do with repair.”

LEGISLATION
NWRA Withdraws Support of Model Licensing
The board of directors of the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) has voted to withdraw its support of the National Glass Association’s (NGA’s) model licensing act.

The act calls for the licensing of auto and architectural glaziers, including auto glass companies.

“The association’s recent experience in Louisiana has led the board to conclude such blanket endorsement of model legislation may be misconstrued to mean endorsement of any legislation that may have originated through the NGA, even though that legislation may change significantly in the legislative process,” said NWRA president Paul Syfko in a letter to the NGA. “The NWRA board has changed its policy to evaluate legislation in its final form on a case-by-case basis in the future.”

According to NWRA officials, the group had been concerned because recent legislation in Louisiana was not in the best interests of repair shops and NWRA had worked for changes to the bill, which were subsequently made. 


AGRR
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