Volume 12, Issue 4 - July/August 2010

Repair Round-Up
nwra reports

To Waive or Not to Waive
by Mike Boyle

It’s been almost five years since State Farm’s decision to stop waiving the deductible for windshield repair, and, as a National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) member recently inquired, why?

Company officials have argued that by not waiving the deductible, the company is not backing away from repair, but that it continues to encourage it. Moreover, company officials also have stated that many of its insureds have no deductible for comprehensive claims and therefore the company does end up paying in whole for many windshield repairs.

The Big Picture
These may be valid arguments. However, some see a larger picture: For even if something makes financial sense, does that in and of itself supersede a company’s social and environmental responsibility?

While State Farm is a leader in regard to the number of people it insures, the company is missing an enormous opportunity to be an environmentally conscious industry leader.

It is estimated that NWRA/GGCA members have repaired more than 60 million windshields in the past ten years. To date, the association is unaware of any accident as a result of a repair, nor of any safety issues.

And best of all, windshield repair is one of the original “green” processes.

Moreover, by waiving the deductible for windshield repair for its policyholders, State Farm would assist in a possible increase in the number of automotive glass repairs performed annually, allowing State Farm to be in a position to actually lower premiums for its policyholders (by saving overall costs), while also decreasing liability for its company (by promoting the safe, time-tested process of windshield repair). Best of all, State Farm would be seen as an environmental leader—by encouraging its policyholders to actively seek out repair, whenever possible, by waiving the policyholder’s deductible. The NWRA/GGCA stands ready to publicly applaud its efforts as an environmental leader in the automobile insurance industry.

“State Farm would be seen as an environmental leader—by waiving the
policyholder’s deductible.”

Social Responsibility
Sadly, the recent events that have occurred in the Gulf Coast have reminded us that oftentimes the socially responsible course of action may be ignored in favor of that which will bring greater profit. While being an environmental leader is an oft-lofty goal for many companies, the plain fact is that profits typically drive company decisions, with socially conscious policies coming about as an unintended consequence.

The NWRA/GGCA will take it either way. Bottom line: Windshield repair makes common financial sense—a windshield repair costs much less than windshield replacement. Now, we all know there are instances when windshield damage cannot simply be repaired, but why not be proactive and repair damage as soon as possible? Saving money is a great motivator to many—if a State Farm policyholder notices repairable damage on his or her windshield, he or she is more likely to get the damage repaired if it is understood that it will be done at no cost to them. State Farm could save money by heeding off unnecessary replacements. And with “bait and switch” schemes and insurance fraud being an ongoing issue, it may also save both State Farm and its policyholders more money than just the cost of the deductible.

But in the end, the whether or not State Farm reverses its policy regarding windshield repair and deductibles, windshield repair technicians must take it upon themselves to be the best at what they do. And the NWRA will stand by its members’ sides—continuing to offer educational and networking opportunities to its members in order to help them increase business.

The NWRA will continue to engage in dialogue with State Farm and any other insurance company that elects to not waive the deductible of its policyholders for windshield repair. However, the best education occurs during dialogue with your customers. Remind them of the environmental benefits of windshield repair and that while their insurance company may or may not waive their deductibles that they will save time and money by opting for a repair over a replacement, and that it’s good for the environment, too.

Mike Boyle is the president of the NWRA. He also serves as president of Glass Mechanix in Bend, Ore. Mr. Boyle’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

© Copyright 2010 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.