Volume 15, Issue 6- November/December 2013

Insurance Talk
Policy briefs

National news
NAGS Fall Calculator Released; 11 of Top 20 Prices Decline

The Fall 2013 National Auto Glass Specifi- cations (NAGS) International Benchmark Calculator, released in early September, shows a decrease from the Fall 2012 numbers for many parts. glassBYTEs.com/AGRR™ magazine analyzed a list of the current top 20 popular part numbers and found that the benchmark prices for 11 of 20 parts have decreased since the Fall 2012 calculator, while at least 10 of 20 have declined since Spring 2013.

Meanwhile, six of the most popular products have increased in benchmark price over 2012.

The steepest price decline occurred for part DW01256 GBNN, which dropped 2.3 percent from $256.05 in Fall 2012 to $250.45 in Fall 2013. The part saw its sharpest decline from Spring 2013 to Fall 2013, noting a marked 3-percent drop.

wo notable price increases from Fall 2012 to Fall 2013 occurred for parts DW01658GBYN and FW02351GBNN, which saw spikes of 1.5 percent and 2 percent, respectively, year over year.

Additionally, the total average price for the top 20 parts saw a decrease of 0.04 percent from 2012.

Parts DW01341GBYN, DW01317GBYN and DW01265GBNN saw no change from Fall 2012 to Fall 2013.

Mitchell International, Owner of NAGS, Purchased by KKR

Global investment firm KKR has purchased Mitchell International, which owns National Auto Glass Specifications (NAGS). “This will not have any impact to NAGS or the management team at Mitchell,” says Bud Oliver, director of product operations at Mitchell.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter and is subject to regulatory approval.

KKR is a leading global investment firm with $83.5 billion in assets under management as of June 30, 2013. KKR’s specialty is technology, according to officials. It has invested in companies spanning a broad range of segments, including software, hardware, Internet, digital media, information services and outsourced support services to corporate and public sector customers. It is publically traded on the New York Stock Exchange as “KKR.” It was founded in 1976 and led by Henry Kravis and George Roberts.

“We have built Mitchell into a great company by investing in our products, people and infrastructure,” says Alex Sun, Mitchell’s president and CEO. “KKR shares our vision of being a growth-oriented, customer-driven company built on strong values.

“This is an exciting time for Mitchell and I am extremely appreciative of Aurora’s support over the years. We are excited to work with KKR on Mitchell’s next phase of growth and development as we maintain focus on empowering our clients to deliver the best possible outcomes. We believe KKR’s capabilities in technology and health care, both domestically and internationally, will enable us to find new ways to provide valuable and innovative solutions to our clients,” he adds.

Herald Chen, co-head of KKR’s technology investing group, says, “We believe that Mitchell represents an attractive investment in a market leader in an important market segment.”

KKR was advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Three Ocean Partners on the transaction. Goldman, Sachs & Co. served as the lead financial advisor for Mitchell. William Blair & Co. and Guggeheim Securities also advised the company.

Farmers’ Subsidiary Chooses LYNX

Farmers’ subsidiary Bristol West Insurance Co., which includes Foremost Personal Auto, is moving from Safelite Solutions to LYNX Services as its third-party administrator for auto glass claims. The move went into effect September 9, 2013.

“Beginning in 2014, Bristol West and Foremost Personal Auto will contract with LYNX to serve as its third-party administrator for auto glass claims,” says Mark Toohey, head of media relations for Farmers’ Insurance. “The new agreement officially begins in September [2013] and the transition will occur over time. This decision, which only involves Bristol West and Foremost Personal Auto, was made for business reasons.”

Chris Umble, LYNX vice president of strategic initiatives, says, “We are gratified to have earned this opportunity with Bristol West and Foremost Personal Auto, starting September 9. We welcome both to the LYNX Services community of companies that comprise an industry-leading solution that ensures high satisfaction, high regulatory compliance and consistent leadership in value to customers.”

Allstate to Hire Hundreds of New Agents in Five States

Allstate Insurance Co. is hiring hundreds of new insurance agents in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, according to the Insurance Journal.

The company plans to add approximately 305 new insurance agents in Pennsylvania over the next year.

In Connecticut, Allstate plans to appoint more than 75 insurance agents.

Approximately 20 insurance agents will be added in Maine, the Insurance Journal reports.

Meanwhile, in Rhode Island, the company is looking to appoint more than 30 insurance agents.

Over in New Hampshire, Allstate will add about 25 new agents.

State News
Alpine Glass Wins Eighth Arbitration Award

Alpine Glass of Minneapolis, Minn., has been handed an arbitration award against AAA Insurance Co. for $149,500.57. The award represents 100 percent of the amount sought through arbitration for short pays from the insurer

Mike Reid, president of Alpine Glass, says the company won this arbitration because the insurer was unable to prove Alpine had unfair billing practices.

“It’s sad to see glass companies failing as a result of being desperate and accepting reimbursements that are ridiculously below what is fair and reasonable,” says Reid. “Glass companies are losing out by not fighting for a fair price. We have shown time and time again that our prices are fair and reasonable.”

According to court documents, “Alpine asserts, as assignee of its customers, that it is entitled to the full amount billed for glass repair and replacement work governed by the terms of the AAA insurance policy. The claims are from July 6, 2006, through May 9, 2012.”

“AAA did not conduct a survey of the ‘area where the car is to be repaired,’” writes arbitrator David T. Magnuson in the arbitration award. “The short-pays of Alpine’s invoices were systematic and consistent, but not based upon written estimates, competitive bids or an agreement. AAA did not comply [with] the terms of the policy in processing Alpine’s claims.”

“Alpine will continue to fight against insurers who short pay our invoices and, if necessary, we will continue to file for arbitration in order to be paid what is right,” Reid adds.

In July 2012, Alpine won a six-figure award against Liberty Mutual for short pays. Additional wins include six other awards from Illinois Farmers, Allstate, American Family, USAA, Integrity and Guide One.

According to the arbitration award, “The dispute arose as a result of claimant Alpine Glass’s insurance policy with respondent wherein claimant pays for glass repair and replacement work, get an assignment for each individual claim, and then submits the claims to respondent AAA Insurance Co. A third-party administrator, in turn, pays pursuant to the insurance policy what they deem to be the amount charged by a majority of the repair market for glass repair and replacement claims.”

The recent award is Alpine’s eighth within the last two years; the total of the awards is now approaching $3 million. Alpine Glass has been victorious in all of its arbitration cases.

AGRR™ magazine recently covered arbitration in its October newscast. To view the October newscast in our studio, visit http://www.agrrmag.com/studio.

Allstate Writes Check to Settle 12 Short-Pay Lawsuits

Allstate recently paid Lakeland, Fla.-based Gunder Auto Center’s full labor rate to settle a long standing series of 12 pending lawsuits over short pays. Allstate’s decision could impact auto glass shops as well since they also face short pays from insurers.

Collision shop owner Ray Gunder sued Allstate on behalf of his customers after the insurer refused to cover full labor rates for collision repair work. Allstate representatives approached Gunder in June of this year to discuss finding closure to the lawsuits.

 


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