Volume 9, Issue 4 - August/September 2007

Independent’s Day
an iga viewpoint

The Unanswered Questions
by Dave Zoldowski

At the recent request of several Independent Glass Association (IGA) members, the association has explored a situation that affects the entire industry: rust removal. This issue currently needs more attention than it has been getting if we’re going to change it for safety’s sake.

Shops registered with the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards Council are required to make sure the extra necessary steps are performed in order to deliver a vehicle back to their customers to insure that in a frontal impact or rollover that the windshield stays intact and protects our customer—which includes handling any corrosion or rust removal necessary. That is all of our responsibility.    

The NAGS Catalog provides a list of codes for services for which glass shops can be reimbursed, such as hazardous waste removal, rust removal and butyl-to-urethane conversion. This is great news for the industry, until a shop tries to bill a “competitor-administrator” (CA) and the cost for extra time and effort put into making the vehicle safe is rejected.

Inside the Problem
The IGA looked into the issue further and found that the root of the problem is two-fold. First, the rejection of rust removal claims and other aspects not considered part of the normal billing process happens at the CA’s automated audit profile stage. Secondly, some CAs did, at one time, pay for these necessary services. When they stopped, not enough shops fought back and demanded that they pay, leading to what is currently the mindset of many an administrator that, if you’re not going to bill for it and especially if you’re not going to fight for it, the administrators don’t have to pay it.

Compounding the problem here is that this mindset doesn’t just end with how glass shops are treated. One CA that has decided that rust removal and other necessary services aren’t reimbursable has decided that no one can get reimbursed for it—even the consumer whose car is being serviced. Let’s say you perform and bill for rust removal—a service we all agree may be necessary for a safe installation—and the CA rejects that part of the claim for the reasons stated above. If you turn around and bill the consumer (the same consumer who pays the insurance company to maintain a policy that requires the car be returned to “pre-loss condition”), the consumer can’t even be reimbursed—because the CA has decided that rust removal is not a reimbursable service.

The Answer
So what do we do about it? Well, first of all, we as an association have to make a combined stand. We need to define just who the customer is. Is it the CA? Is it the insurance company that pays the CA? Or is it your neighbor down the street who drives the car that needs a new windshield? 

We also need to answer the question: who’s running the show? Is it the insurance company? If so, then why are they not paying for cars that, by the policy they have written, are not being returned to pre-loss condition? Is it the glass shop? If so (and it should be), we know what it takes to do a safe and proper installation, why are we not standing up for ourselves and demanding that we get paid fair price for hard work? Is it the CA? If so, WHY?

Finally, we need to decide—as a whole—what to do about it. What will be the best and most effective way to combat the problem of not getting paid what we are due and how do we accomplish that?

We need your input, we need your help and we need to pull together for the future of our industry. Together we can accomplish a lot. 

Dave Zoldowski is president of Auto One in Brighton, Mich., and serves as president of the Independent Glass Association (IGA). Mr. Zoldowski’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.



AGRR
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