thoughts from the shop
by David A. Casey
After hearing repeatedly from some National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) members that steering is an important issue, I decided to collect some information about it and turn it into a seminar for the NWRA Conference in Las Vegas in March. Although I havenít been in a position to get steered, or steered around, I requested instances and methods from those which doómy company franchisees as well as independent repairers.
I didnít really get much of a response. I couldnít find a repairer who claimed this was crippling the business. After a couple of months, all I had gathered was four ways that a repair could be taken from a company with misinformation. It seemed to me that understanding the repairerís rights and the policyholderís rights and being willing to articulate the facts to any network CSR would take care of the problem and negate losing repairs for bogus reasons.
With the assistance of Mike Boyle, president of Glas-Weld, the seminar was well-received, with people taking notes and no argument at the conclusion. So, for any repairers who can benefit from the basic fundamentals of getting your repair approved through the network here is the first of two articles on the basic content of the seminar.
Repairers generally have three choices for receiving payment from the insured individual motorist.
The first choice is to charge the vehicle owner for the repair and advise the motorist to submit a copy of the invoice to the insurance company for reimbursement, if they choose to do so. There are some downsides to this method. First, being required to pay for the repair is not as convenient for the motorist as having the insurance company pay direct. Instead of the company that demands cash payment, they may choose a repair company that offers the convenience of billing the network or insurance company. Secondly, without billing the insurance company, the repair company does not have the opportunity to build a business relationship with the insurance company or its administrator.
A second method of payment, which is becoming increasingly rare, is to seek approval directly from the insurance company without using their administrator. This method rarely is applicable and only a few insurance companies will cooperate.
The third method is to gain approval for payment from the insurance company through its network, or third-party administrator.
Keep in mind that, in many cases, these repair calls from motorists were generated from the repairerís local advertising and promotion. When the money is spent generating customers, it is important to ensure the return on investment by garnering every job generated by that expenditure. Itís also true that some network CSRs donít learn their job as well as others, so sometimes there is confusion during the approval process over the telephone.
Part two of this article will appear in the next issue.
Dave Casey is president of SuperGlass Windshield Repair Inc., Orlando, Fla.
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