Industry Associations Meet in Fort
Myers, Fla., for Annual Conferences
Several auto glass industry groups came together this May in Fort Myers,
Fla., for conferences, meetings and more. Both the Independent Glass Association
(IGA) and the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) held their
annual conferences in conjunction with the Spring Auto Glass Show™ and
the National Glass Association’s auto glass certification committee held
meetings as well.
Inside LYNX Services
The events started with a tour of LYNX Services’ call center. The tour
was led by Chris Umble, vice president of strategic development, who spoke
with attendees about the company’s tiered service model released late
last year in conjunction with Allstate.
“It creates value at different levels of the value chain,” he said. “For
policyholders, the goal is to provide a better experience.”
He explained that the idea of the program is to differentiate among shops
“favorably on items other than price.”
Umble added, “We all know shops are not equal. Some are better than others.”
He explained that items on which shops are judged are customer satisfaction,
warranty performance and “NAGS part utility versus market/peers.” The
customer satisfaction index looks at items such as shop efficiency, general
satisfaction with the company and technician, professionalism, workmanship
and whether the customer would refer someone else to utilize that shop.
Others on the tour talked about the company’s move toward electronic processing,
at the request of their insurance clients, and the fact that shops can
now enable electronic scheduling. This enables customers to schedule work
with a shop from the LYNX portion of certain insurers’ websites.
“You’re going to have the opportunity not only to receive the work assignment
by e-mail, but also for the policyholder to re-schedule the work,” explained
Paul McFarland, who oversees the company’s participant services. “More
and more of our clients have deployed services where their policyholders
can go online and service a loss.”
Umble, along with Tony Douglas, affiliate manager for HSG, also answered
a number of questions related to glass claims during a panel held as part
of the NWRA conference. Topics included falling deductibles, promoting
windshield repair and how glass shops can make the claims process run
On the topic of promoting windshield repairs and a growing awareness,
Umble said, “Repair is always good. That has been our mantra.”
He also pointed out that he sees a growing awareness regarding repair.
“I see change and it may be for the better,” he said. “Repairs are no
longer the silent side [of the industry].”
Anti-Steering Efforts and Online Basics
“Finding out what the industry thinks are legitimate practices can be
a harsh reality,” advised Wade Ebert, owner of American Auto Body in Springfield,
Ill., during his seminar.
Ebert spoke about insurer steering efforts and combating them, but warned
it requires an investment of time.
“You have to have people in place to do your job while you do your second
job of taking back your business,” said Ebert.
He also encouraged cooperation between the auto glass and auto body industries
in exploring issues that impact both.
“Realistically, we have some real parallel industries,” he said. “ … I
think we need to come together or fall hard.”
Internet expert Scott Orth offered attendees of both the IGA and NWRA
annual conferences a look at the online world and items they should watch
when setting up or re-designing their websites.
“Does design matter?” asked Orth. “It’s more about layout and ease of
And clarity is key. “The real goal is to show customers what you do when
they get to the site.”
He also suggested that auto glass business owners watch their rankings
in various search engines in an effort to compete with industry giants
in this area. For example, he advised attendees to search for both “auto
glass” and “auto glass repair” in various search engines.
IGA?counsel Chuck Lloyd of Livgard and Lloyd offered a session designed
to help auto glass businesses learn tips for working with insurers and
getting paid what they feel they should be in an insurance transaction.
“The policy is what dictates what the insurance company is going to pay,”
He stressed that obtaining an assignment of proceeds from a policyholder—a
form saying they sign their insurance benefits for a particular claim
over to your business—is key.
“The policyholder can take what is owed and assign that to you,” he said.
Lloyd called the assignment of proceeds a “foundational document.”
“It’s as important as your invoice,” he said.
He suggests obtaining this nearly as soon as you make contact with the
“If you have an assignment, you have the ability to deal with [the insurer],”
he said. “In fact, I think they have an obligation to deal with you.”
Attendees left both conferences armed with new knowledge, they say.
“I’m really glad I sat through all of [the sessions],” says Jim Short
of Klein-Dickert in Madison, Wis. “Scott Orth was good … Every session
was good. I can’t think of one that was better than the others.”
John Tutt, vice president of auto glass for Club Assist, traveled all
the way from New Zealand to attend.
“[I came] primarily to have a look at some of the tools, network with
some of the people, understand some of the issues [U.S. businesses are]
facing,” he said. “We can see how those compare with what we’re facing
in Australia and New Zealand.”
Penny Stacey is the editor of AGRR magazine/glassBYTEs.com™.
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article, visit www.agrrmag.com/sas2010/event.htm.
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