Volume 14, Issue 1 - January/February 2012

Insurance Talk
Policy brief

Safelite Solutions Becomes
“Strategic Partner” to NICB

Safelite’s third-party glass claims administration division, Safelite Solutions, has become what the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is calling its first “Strategic Partner,” according to a joint release issued by both NICB and Safelite. “NICB has a lot of insurance company members and a lot of those companies will look for ways to address their claims handling, and so really it was nothing more than approaching Safelite and looking at ways we could help each others’ businesses,” says NICB director of public affairs Frank Scafidi. “Now if they see trends, whether than having to go through this convoluted process of reporting back to individual companies in terms of volume and trending, they can report that directly to us now, assuming all the other parts in are in alignment.”

Safelite will provide the information to NICB only for its member companies. “We couldn’t do this for a company that’s not an NICB member but is a Safelite customer,” says Scafidi.

Scafidi says Safelite, like other NICB members, does pay a fee to engage in the partnership.

“There is a fee or an assessment for our membership and I don’t even have a clue what it is,” he says. “It’s a sliding scale.”

The “Strategic Partner” classification was created for companies such as Safelite that share interests with the NICB, but don’t fit the standard membership profile, according to Scafidi.

“Our members primarily are insurance companies within the property and casualty industry,” he says. “So Safelite is a company that [is not an insurer], but it does serve our membership and customer bases to work together on fraud.”

The partnership also includes Alliance Claims Solutions of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which Safelite’s parent company, Belron, acquired in 2009.

According to the latest report from NICB, “questionable” auto glass claims dropped 68 percent for first three quarters of the year, when compared with the same period of 2010.

The group defines “questionable claims” as “claims that NICB member insurance companies refer to NICB for closer review and investigation based upon one or more indicators of possible fraud.”

NICB officials say they received only 659 “questionable” auto glass claims in the first three quarters of 2011, compared with 2,036 received during the same timeframe in 2010.

Going back to 2009, NICB says only 332 “questionable” auto glass claims were received in its first three quarters—a 513 percent difference from the reported 2010 surge.

Consumer Trust of Insurers is Low, According to Latest Study
Only 48 percent of consumers in both the United States and the United Kingdom trust their insurance providers, according to a study recently commissioned by Pitney Bowes Business Insight, a software solutions provider for the insurance industry.

Only 41 percent of respondents reported in the study that they trust insurance companies to do what is right, and 45 percent of customers believe that, if they shared their problems with their insurance providers, they would “receive a caring response,” according to the study.

When it comes to electronics, 47 percent of survey participants said they trust self-service technologies such as e-commerce platforms and online accounts.

Fifty-three percent answered affirmatively when asked whether they feel satisfied with the treatment they receive from their insurers, along with the relationship in general and service provided.

The study also found that 32 percent of respondents think that their insurance providers are doing a good job of implementing policies that favor customers’ best interests.

“One of the major struggles for the insurance industry is commoditization and customer churn,” says Bill Sinn, strategic marketing director, Pitney Bowes Business Insight.

According to the study, the majority of consumers said they believe “improv[ed] customer communication” is crucial for developing trust with insurers, and some cited that higher levels of quality, clarity and transparency would be most helpful in communications from their insurance providers.

Inside the Safelite/NICB Partnership
In light of the recently announced Safelite/NICB partnership, Safelite spokesperson Melina Metzger provided some additional insight on the partnership to AGRR™ magazine.

AGRR: How did this partnership come about?

Metzger (MM): Safelite Solutions’ claims investigations unit has worked with the NICB and our insurance clients to report suspicious claims for years. With the spike in those questionable claims last year, we began conversations with NICB to begin to work more closely in order to provide information and investigate shops that may be filing fraudulent claims.

AGRR: What type of information will Safelite share under the terms of the partnership?
MM: For insurance clients that grant permission, Safelite Solutions will share data about shops who submit frequent questionable claims for NICB to investigate rather than funneling that information through the client as was done in the past.

AGRR: Is there a reason the company decided to head in this direction, rather than continuing to allow the insurers to submit the information?
MM: As a program manager for our insurance clients, it allows for a quicker, more seamless flow of information and places less burden on our insurance partners.

AGRR: Are you able to comment on the terms of the partnership, such as any costs involved?
MM: We pay a membership fee like all members of NICB.

AGRR: How would you respond to concerns from reputable shops that are fearful that their claims information might now be shared with NICB?
MM: Reputable shops following the law have nothing to fear. As an industry, we should benefit by seeing a decrease in scammers who hurt our reputation.

AGRR: What types of items does Safelite look for that might make a claim seem questionable?
MM: This is determined by our insurance clients.

AGRR: Recent reports from NICB actually showed a drop in questionable auto glass claims. To what would you attribute that drop?
MM: The drop in reported questionable claims may stem from a combination of increased awareness of the consumer as well as the various inspection programs being implemented by many insurance carriers.

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