Industry Responds to Completion of Allstate Move to
The move of Allstate’s auto glass claims administration to Safelite Solutions,
which took effect at the beginning of this year, has drawn a heated reaction
from across the industry. Many have expressed a slowdown in referrals
since the January 1 move.
“Last month [January] we did one job, this month [February] we’ve done
one job, compared to 16 last February,” said a Salt Lake City-based auto
glass shop owner on February 15. “Unless we see more jobs coming soon,
we’ll be significantly down this month.”
Most of the agents are telling their customers to go online and file a
claim, the owner said. “The online process asks for shop of preference
and offers two options, but pushes for Safelite preferred vendors, regardless
of how close they are,” he said. “If you click on the other box, it says
they’ll call you back. It’s re-slanted toward them. So, nine out of 10
customers will choose a Safelite-preferred shop. We’ve done work for Allstate
for 40 years, never have had a complaint, but this is misleading.”
A North Carolina shop owner whose company has gained “Tier-One” status
with Allstate has had a similar experience.
“Since January 2, I’ve gotten one job, and that’s because it was a returning
customer,” the owner said on February 15. “On average I’d get four to
six jobs a week before that.”
The shop owner said he even changed his rate to get more business. “We
had to agree to a certain discount amount, which is 44 percent off of
the NAGS list price with Allstate,” he said. “I increased my offer to
56 percent discount, but nothing’s changed. I only get a customer when
they can’t meet the customer’s timeline. When a customer calls, it says
Safelite Solutions. The customer doesn’t know who to use, so they steer
him to Safelite shops.”
A Connecticut-based auto glass shop owner says he quickly saw a drop-off
in referrals from the Northbrook, Ill.-based insurer shortly after the
move took effect.
“Safelite has yet to dispatch a single job in three days, with LYNX I
was “Safelite has yet to dispatch a single job in three days, with LYNX
I was getting ten jobs a day,” he says. Others say pricing has been an
issue since the move.
“Allstate, now through its [third-party administrator] now has the most
atrocious pricing in the industry from my standpoint,” says an Arkansas-based
shop owner. “ ... Soon Safelite will have all the insurance companies
under its thumb and will have to do all the glasswork since the company
will be hard-pressed to find any independents to do it.”
A Fort Myers, Fla.-based auto glass business has a different concern.
“The majority of the work that [we] receive is from body shops in the
area [with whom] he has been working and they have come to rely and trust
him with their glass needs,” says the representative, “ but we are not
able to install windshields and bill them to Safelite through the body
“The shop is on [the Allstate] list and approved by the company and is
able to do repair and replacement work in the body shops, but has been
banned from the installation of windshields because it is a fledgling
company, not yet in business a year to be considered an affiliate,” adds
“I’m scared—I can’t tick these people off anymore,” says the owner of
the Fort Myers, Fla., shop. “They’re big—they’re so big, and you’re just
a little tiny business.”
Use of Call Centers Up, Agents Down, According to New Study
The way in which consumers contact their insurance companies has seen
a major shift in recent years, according to the latest Auto Insurance
Claims Satisfaction Study conducted by J.D. Power and associates. The
study reports that several agency-based carriers are now encouraging customers
to contact a call center, rather than their agent, to file a claim.
The study reports that satisfaction was found to be higher among those
who filed claims directly with agents; those who filed claims directly
with an agent rated the overall claims experience at a score of 886 of
1,000 points during the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with an average
score of 849 among those who utilized a call center for the same quarter,
according to JD Power.
“Not all customers want to work with an agent; some just want to file
their claim in the quickest and easiest way possible, whether that be
through a call center or online,” says Jeremy Bowler, senior director
of the insurance practice for the research firm. “There still is a significant
share of customers who prefer the personal interaction they get with an
agent because they value working directly with a person they know.”
Overall, customer satisfaction remained somewhat flat for the year, compared
to past studies, averaging 855 during the fourth quarter, compared with
854 during the third quarter and 848 during the second quarter, according
to the study.
JD Power reports that New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co. and USAA
also achieved high scores for customer satisfaction, but are not included
in the overall rankings due to the limited markets in which they work.
The U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study is based on more than 3,500 responses
from auto insurance customers who filed a claim within the past six months.
The study excludes customers with glass-only claims.
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