Industry Responds to Farmers' New Requirements for Inspections Prior to Repair and Replacement Authorization
March 29, 2013

by Jenna Reed,

With Farmers' Insurance now joining the ranks of other insurance companies requiring inspections prior to authorization given for auto glass repair and replacement claims via outside networks, several industry professionals responded by calling this an attempt at steering. They shared their lack of enthusiasm over this new trend with the editors of™.

"We have seen and heard the inspection stories. I see it as a blatant move by Safelite to circumvent another company from performing the repair," says David Casey, president of SuperGlass Windshield Repair in Orlando, Fla. "Once Safelite inspects it, they usually repair it as the same time, regardless of the prior vendor's involvement.

"A cell phone photo by the policy holder should be as sufficient as an inspection by a Safelite technician with a conflict of interest. It's not about inspections, it's about Safelite garnering every single job within their reach," he adds.

Meanwhile, another auto professional based in Oklahoma who preferred not to be named for fear of reprisal, says she has lost an average of four to six Allstate jobs a week to Safelite. As for Farmers, she has dealt with this inspection situation as well.

"Just yesterday [earlier this week], I asked a long-term customer if she objected to filing her Farmers' claim on speaker. She agreed. I identified myself by name and the name of the shop to the Safelite representative. She took the customer's policy number, name, etc., from me. Safelite asked to talk to my customer and took all of the same information from her they had just asked me. I was listening on the speaker phone as the rep said repeatedly 'We highly recommend the use of our affiliate Safelite.' She said, 'Would you like me to transfer you to them to schedule your appointment?' My customer said, 'Them who?' It was repeated Safelite."

The auto glass professional said she immediately asked the Safelite representative for her name and informed her that her actions were illegal and called steering.

"She apologized and said I'm sorry, I thought I was talking to the agent," she says. "This just verifies the fact that independents are losing more and more work to Safelite. All they are doing is circumventing the new laws in place to stop steering, which is apparently not working. Unfortunately, Oklahoma does not seem interested in making us a fair marketplace to live."

Kerry Soat, CEO of Fas-Break in Chandler, Ariz., calls this trend of inspections prior to claims' authorization "another attempt at legalizing steering by an insurance company."

He says, "It is illegal in most states for an insurance company to steer clients to a particular glass shop but not illegal for an auto glass company or their solely-owned third party administrator. These new inspection procedures from Farmers' Insurance, as well as others requiring inspections, may be crossing the line of an insurance company steering and the state insurance departments should be investigating these allegations."

If your customers are required to undergo inspections, please email with details.

This story is an original story by AGRR™ magazine/™. Subscribe to AGRR™ Magazine.
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