Volume 10, Issue 6 - November/December 2008

I n d e p e n d e n t ’ s D a y

Pinning the Tail on the Steer
by Dave Zoldowski

EVERY TIME THE INDEPENDENT
Glass Association (IGA) goes on the record before a state legislative committee, we hear the same tried and tested arguments against our group’s calls for a level playing field. It never fails and lobbyists will continue to push their party lines until we crash that merrymaking. In such political situations you have to whittle your message down to its simplest point. One of the questions the IGA keeps running into concerning our fight against illicit steering is the question, “If steering is such a pressing issue, then why has there not been a revolt by automobile owners? Where is the public uproar?”

I know it’s crazy, so hold down your laughter please and keep the snickering to a low cackle. This is like asking the worm what the problem is with fishing hooks. And where, by the way, is the evidence of missing worms?

Finally: Documentation
Up until this point no group or individual has ever been able to rebuke this thoughtful question with evidence. Up until now the only real documented cases brought against insurance companies and their competitor-administrators had been instances of unpaid claims, under-paid claims (short-pays) and your basic corporate fraud. But we now live in an age were technology is a game changer.

This leads me to the redesign of IGA’s website. For the past six months we have been getting our membership ready for their new website. And for the past six months we have been painstakingly trying to perfect the site to live up to its long drawn-out début.

One of the tools associated with the new iga.org is its steering tracking system. Modeled after the Federal Trade Commission’s complaint form, IGA’s reporting system will track and record all reported instances of steering. For the past five years we have been doing so only by paper filed complaint and without much success. But we are now on the verge of creating an excellent database for recording incidents of steering.

The new iga.org will possess a steering report module that will allow members and consumers to report incidents of steering. Consumers will be able to tell us what competitor-administrator, insurance company and auto glass company was involved in the auto glass service. Members will be able to do the same, but members will also be able to upload and download audio recordings of steering incidents. The IGA will then tag, record and file each case of steering appropriately so that each can be referenced at a later date. In many cases, the incident will be reported to the proper authorities. In some cases, depending on internal agreements, incidents will be forwarded to the relevant insurance company or claims administrator.

24/7 Access
But most important of all, IGA members will have 24-hour access to this database. For example, let’s say you are an independent in Florida and you have heard that Davey Jones Auto Insurance has changed its auto glass claims script. A member can log into the system and pull up any recordings made in Florida associated with Davey Jones Auto Insurance. The IGA member can then download the appropriate file and listen to the new script.

If the IGA can get the entire ocean of independents in the country to refer consumers to the tracking system and if members will diligently spend time completing reports, then we will be able to ascertain the problem emphatically. This will finally end the ability of the insurance industry to claim “What problem?”

So I invite the industry to visit the new iga.org and I suggest that we all use it as well.

AGRR
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