Volume 13, Issue 5 - September/October 2011

Repair Round-Up
nwra reports

Education and Certification
by Kerry Wanstrath

Recent announcements and industry developments make us all ask one question: how do I compete in this extremely aggressive environment? What can I do that can give me a competitive edge and assure my customers that my business is better qualified both technically and ethically to either repair or replace their auto glass? How can I show third-party administrators and insurers that we are better?

A big part of the answer is education and certification for your technicians. The industry has been moving toward testing and certification for several years now, but it is more urgent now than ever. There are few options for an independent that are effective as having more qualifications than your competition, regardless of size.

Trust the Experts
There are two different (yet similar) organizations that are developing standards and educational material and subsequent testing for repair and replacement methods and ethical business practices: the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards (AGRSS®) Council and the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA). Both organizations include many industry experts who volunteer their time and resources for the improvement of our industry. The AGRSS Council has worked for years on the creation of the AGRSS Standard, while the NWRA has worked for years on the creation of the Repair of Laminated Auto Glass Standard (ROLAGS). Why would you not take advantage of their collective knowledge?

The NWRA is now an ANSI-approved standards developer and is the secretariat for the ROLAGS Standard. The NWRA plans to preview an education and testing and certification program at Auto Glass Week™ (see related story on page 24). Testing can verify you are performing your service in accordance with industry-accepted practices, show you where your knowledge needs to grow, give you the knowledge to improve, and allow you to make necessary changes. Please make a point to stop by the NWRA booth and find out more about how you can get your technicians certified and how to use this to your advantage.

It has become clear many insurance companies are just concerned about the bottom line and how a claim affects them, not their policyholders. As many of you know, I have not been a fan of how insurance interacts and attempts to control this industry (see related story in May/June AGRR™ magazine, page 32). Nothing they have done recently has changed my opinion.
I’m still surprised when some retailers tout that if it wasn’t for insurance their businesses would be worse off. Really, I don’t know what worse off means; does it mean out of business or just getting worse faster? I view insurance the way I do big government, as a big obstacle that makes doing business difficult and less profitable. The less insurance is involved in our industry, the better off our industry would be.

Working with Insurers
For those who disagree don’t worry—the first time insurers listen to me (or you, for that matter), I’ll let you know. But if the game we must play is by their rules, it makes the most sense to have the industry’s best credentials on your wall.

Kerry Wanstrath is the president of the National Windshield Repair Association. In addition, he serves as president of Glass Technology in Durango, Colo.



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