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Volume 7    Issue 4           July/August  2005

Side Lites
Guest Columnists

Industry Services Registry 
by Paul McFarland and Chris Umble

The automotive glass repair and replacement industry is changing on a number of fronts:

• Today’s customers expect more than a competitive price.
• Technology, such as the proliferation of cell phones, is displacing traditional methods for linking policyholders and service providers.
• Glass service providers are expanding beyond their own brick-and-mortar facility into bay partnerships and extensive mobile service areas.

Such changes make it necessary for service providers to find new ways to represent their service capabilities, qualifications and points of differentiation in the market. 
Similarly, insurance companies want to streamline and strengthen how they qualify and refer service providers to meet the needs of their policyholders. 

Like any buyer, insurance companies are constantly seeking access to pricing that is competitive and consistent with local market conditions. Yet there is growing awareness that there are differentiators beyond price that affect policyholders and their satisfaction with the claim experience. 

Glass service providers have long suggested that there are objective differentiators beyond price, but have lacked the means to effectively represent these to insurers and policyholders. Today, the opportunities for service providers to earn industry-
recognized training and certification at the company level and/or individual technician level are growing. 

What’s needed is a mechanism to involve those factors in the claim process in order to promote quality and customer focus, and provide both a competitive price for the insurance company and an optimal claim experience for the policyholder.

LYNX Services®, a third-party administrator for automotive glass claims, is responding to these market needs with the introduction of the METRYX™ industry services registry.

METRYX, hosted by LYNX, is a Web-based self-service tool that enables glass repair and replacement service providers to create company profiles to differentiate and manage their service offerings. These profiles will allow glass service providers to represent their unique capabilities to the insurance and fleet industries. 

Customers seeking qualified glass service will be able to use the registry not only to identify shops based on the types of service they provide, but also to consider factors that go beyond price. The information in the METRYX registry will ultimately allow insurers to better serve their policyholders.

Glass service providers will use the METRYX registry to build company profiles, maintaining control of the information that is entered. They will be able to see exactly how their company is being represented in the registry and update their profile as necessary. 

Service providers will set service areas by indicating the ZIP codes in which they provide service, whether in-shop or mobile service. This is a shift from today’s methodology that links policyholders to service providers based on telephone area codes and local exchanges. With the proliferation of cell phones and the service capacity afforded by today’s mobile technology, this method has become less reliable.

The registry will also store information on glass repair and/or replacement services, service capacity, hours of operation and emergency or after-hours contact information. Companies, which operate in various markets under one or more brand names, will be able to register all their service centers and brands from a single point of access. Other specific data, such as a service provider’s commercial general liability insurance coverage and policy information, will be gathered to enable auto glass service providers to comply with the requirements of individual insurance company programs. 

Insurers have indicated the desire to be able to involve certification factors in the claim process to promote quality and customer focus, and an optimal claim experience for the policyholder. 

To meet this need, the professional credentials of the company’s service technicians, such as industry certifications, windshield adhesive system training/certifications and state licensing, if any, will also be recorded, providing additional opportunities for differentiation. 

Insurers have had a positive reaction to the concept of the registry and feel it is a good fit for the needs of the marketplace and, in particular, policyholders. 

LYNX recognizes that the information on the registry is only as valuable as it is reliable. Therefore, verification of information entered on METRYX will be a critical and ongoing initiative to ensure the accuracy and authenticity of a company’s represented capabilities and capacity. 

Any industry certification, qualification, training or other professional credential to be included on the METRYX registry will require the commitment of the sponsoring organization for verification. For example, LYNX has asked the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards Council to participate by verifying the accreditation of AGRSS registered companies. 

Additionally, the National Glass Association has been engaged to provide verification of indicated technicians who have successfully completed NGA’s certified replacement and/or repair training.

Criteria for additional certifications that can be included in the database are being developed; however, they will be subject to an objective and fair set of rules that will govern inclusion. 

LYNX will be pre-populating the registry. The service provider’s owner/officer or authorized, designated representative will be able to update their company’s profile via the LYNX Web site beginning in mid-July. The METRYX is open to any service provider, but the self-service tool will require a user ID and password to enter the secure Web portal where the registry resides. 

LYNX plans to use the registry in the administration of glass claims for its insurance clients in October. 

Paul McFarland is director, programs administration for LYNX. Chris Umble is VP, strategic initiatives for the company. 

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