Volume 11, Issue 5 - September/October 2009

I n d e p e n d e n t ’ s D a y

“By Your Powers Combined …”
by David Zoldowski

In 2008, the Independent Glass Association (IGA) published a steering comic book that featured IGA Man, a hero fighting to inform the public of their right to choose their auto glass providers. While IGA Man may be the auto glass industry’s hero, every hero needs a sidekick or, in some cases, a group of fellow heroes equally as powerful. Great hero forces like Captain Planet and the Planeteers and the X-Men were only truly great when their powers were combined.

The same concept can be applied to our fight for an industry free of steering.

While we at the IGA have plenty of passion for a just system, there certainly is something to be said for strength in numbers. The industries affected by the issue of steering are more than most would guess, which leads me to ask, “Why have we not joined forces?”

Glass replacement surely is a different ballgame than collision repair, but the problems remain the same. Many of us are losing jobs, customers and revenue because of unfair steering practices and we all want to do something actively to change this. No matter the difference in industries, the principle of the matter remains the same; well-trained, professional, hard-working and ethical businesses are being cheated out of the opportunity to serve their customers and meet their needs properly and safely.

The best way to conquer steering is to surround the issue from all sides and that’s where a coalition of steering survivors can change the nature of this battle.

“Glass replacement surely is a different ballgame than collision repair,
but the problems remain the same.”

The Incident Report Form
The IGA’s Steering Incident Report Form is a great tool for keeping tabs on the steering activities of insurance companies and the responses have been rolling in. This great response has led me to wonder what kind of information we could be collecting if all industries affected by steering were using a tool such as this. It could increase, to a substantial degree, the amount of information that would be coming in from all sides and we all know that in this industry knowledge is power. If you are not familiar with our online steering report form you can visit www.iga.org and click on the “Report Steering: More Details” link. (You also can visit the form directlyat www.windshieldsafety.com/grievance/.)

Recently the IGA spoke at a meeting of the board of directors of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and discussed some of the tools we have created to combat steering. We found that the collision shops were very interested in how they could implement some of these practices and ideas.

While we all must continue to battle the individual steering cases that come through our shops, the fight to change legislation and inform consumers can become multi-industry. At the IGA, we are hopeful that other industries will take our outstretched hand and join with us on the way to our goal: fair and free business.

David Zoldowski is the president of Auto One in Brighton, Mich., and president of the Independent Glass Association (IGA). Mr. Zoldowski’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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