Volume 34, Number 1, January 1999

USGAuto News

Safelite Makes News; To Service Chubb

Safelite Glass Corporation has been in the news quite a bit lately. The country’s largest auto glass retailer, based in Columbus, OH, recorded a net loss of $2.3 million on income of $8.7 million for the period ending October 3, 1998. The company reported total sales for the same period of $231.8 million which represented an increase of 84 percent over the same period last year.

The company also reported that it had extended the expiration date of its bond offering from November 30, 1998 to December 14, 1998. "There was an agreement with the bank as part of the merger loan (Safelite and Vistar Auto Glass merged in December, 1997) that we will raise $100 million either through bond or equity offerings," said company spokesperson Dee Uttermoheln. "We had the bond offering and we are going to have the equity offering later," she said.

Insiders say that approximately $55 million was raised in the bond offering, well short of the $100 million offered, which may reflect a skiddishness among investors to commit funds at this time. "There are a lot of things we have to smooth out after the merger," Uttermohlen said dismissing rumors that the company is planning to hold a public offering.

In addition to this news, Safelite has also announced that it is providing Chubb Group of Insurance Companies with automotive glass claims service. According to Safelite, the Chubb policyholder will be directly connected to Safelite’s auto glass customer service representatives when they call the Chubb Claim Service Center. Safelite says that its customer service associates "will schedule auto glass replacement or windshield repair with one of Safelite’s 700+ service centers, or any other service provider the customer chooses."

Bill Crowley, vice president for Chubb and Son says the company chose Safelite because of their service and technology. "Safelite’s leading-edge technologies and exceptionally high service standards made them a perfect choice," he said.

State Farm Announces Discounts on NAGS Prices

State Farm Insurance Company announced new offers for auto glass replacement installers which went into effect January 1, 1999 with shops that participate in the offer and acceptance program. Shops that meet State Farm’s offer and acceptance qualifications, agree to pay the prices set by State Farm. The new State Farm prices come as a result of the changes in NAGS’ list prices as part of its Revaluation ’98 program.

"We wanted to try to keep the bottom line the same as they currently are," said Chris Coyne, national glass supervisor for State Farm. "But we recognized the need to increase the amount of the kit and labor rate," he said.

Following are the new offers as announced by State Farm:

t $40 flat labor rate per hour as opposed to the previous $27.50.

t $19 per kit as opposed to the previous $15.

t Offers at 80 percent off will become 41 percent off the new NAGS list price.

t Offers at 75 percent off will become 26 percent off the new NAGS list price.

t Offers at 71 percent off will become 13 percent off the new NAGS list price.

t Offers at 68 percent off will become three percent off the new NAGS list price.

t Offers at 64 percent off will become the new NAGS list price plus ten percent.

"We took the NAGS price list information and worked with our research department by providing them with the necessary information and said, ‘you tell us what the price discounts should be,’" said Coyne. "That’s how we came up with the new numbers."

When asked by USGlass why State Farm is only offering $19 per kit when Ford’s new automotive manual requires the use of betaseal®, a product considerably more expensive than that currently being used by replacement installers, Coyne says he has no knowledge of this. However, he did say that situations like these is why State Farm bumped up the labor and kit rates. "There are jobs where technicians don’t spend $15 on a sealant, but we don’t ask them for the money back," said Coyne. "And then there are jobs where they spend more. Because of the calls we received from people is one reason why we bumped the rates up," he said.

LYNX Opens Kentucky Center

LYNX Services from PPG, a subsidiary of Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries, has announced that it will build a 35,000-square-foot insurance claims service center in Paducah, KY.

The center, which will be in Paducah’s Information Age Park, will employ approximately 300 people. James Latch, general manager, said that construction will be finished in August 1999 and that employment would reach 150 by the end of the year. Lynx, which employs 600 people, already has service centers in Fort Meyers, FL, and Overland Park, KS.


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