glassBYTEs.com™ editors reached out to the parties involved in Connecticut’s new anti-steering law, which went into effect January 1, to see if it has made any difference to the marketplace. We wanted to know if the law was being followed and whether market share was affected. A Safelite spokeswoman declined comment saying that the company’s lawsuit is still pending.
Safelite appealed the late December denial of the company’s request to stop the Connecticut law to the Second Circuit Court. The State of Connecticut’s Attorney General’s office deferred comment to the State’s Insurance Department. Spokeswoman Donna Tommelleo of the Insurance Department released the following comment:
“After checking with our Market Conduct Division and Consumer Affairs Unit, we have had no concerns arise regarding the new law. In fact, prior to the law’s enactment, the department received no consumer complaints regarding alleged steering of glass repair and that remains the case.”
Tommelleo also referred us to the department’s testimony from last January claiming that the law was unnecessary.
Safelite Solutions claims that it is the only third-party administrator (TPA) affected by the law. glassBYTEs.com™ editors asked several independent automotive glass shops in Connecticut if they noticed more work from customers of insurers using Safelite Solutions. Opinions varied. Ed Fisher owner of Auto Glass of Connecticut in Milford said, “Business has picked up, but not as much as I thought it would.” He saw two or three new customers from Safelite Solutions last month.
Paul Huot of East Coast Auto Glass in Glastonbury said that they received “No additional business.”
Nikki Maslak of Plymouth Glass & Mirror in Thomaston said that it was difficult to say. Hartford Insurance switched TPAs a few months ago (from Safelite to LYNX) and that had made a bigger difference.
A thread on the subject has been started in the glassBYTEs.com™/AGRR™ magazine forum with similar comments.
Stay tuned to glassBYTES.com for more coverage on the Connecticut law and the related court cases.
Editor’s note: Contributing to this story was Stuart Zimmerman. He is a former journalist and attorney/advisor for the U.S. Department of Justice, and he currently works as an Information Technology Consultant.
Interesting comment… “Safelite Solutions claims that it is the only third-party administrator (TPA) affected by the law.”
Maybe because they are the only TPA that has retail glass locations that benefit from all of the glass claims.
I really have no idea how the lawmakers or the insurance companies in the USA allow this to happen. As many have said “allowing Safelite to watch over the glass claims is letting the fox watch over the chickens”.
Ms. Tommelleo should be reminded that independent glass repair facilities are consumers too and that the law was passed, not only to address consumer choice, but also fair trade issues. CT is one of the few states that require licensing and fees so the licensed glass repair facility should get something such as enforcement of fair trade laws in return. Fair trade laws are in place to promote competition and to prevent monopolies from abusing their positions (as in the case of Safelite Solutions).
She should also be reminded that insurance companies like policyholders that pay their premiums especially when they don’t file claims but when it comes time to file claims, the consumer/policyholder often feels an adversarial air put on by the insurance sdjusters. When filing a glass claim from a licensed non-Safelite glass repair facility, the consumer is put through the proverbial ringer! First, their shop of choice must educate them in the fact that their insurance company has, for some reason, selected a biased third party to administer “glass only” claims and to not let them pressure them into thinking that Safelite is their only choice. Then the call is made to file the first notice of loss. The chosen shop is FORCED to deal with a direct competitor. When the phone is handed to the consumer/policyholder, they then must be advised that the TPA is hired by their insurance company to administer glass claims and that they are Safelite Solutions and that they are financially affiliated with Safelite auto glass which is not affiliated with their insurance company ….etc all of which could have been eliminated if the insurance company had not selected a biased TPA in the first place! Now the consumer is getting confused. Sometimes the TPA will state that the chosen shop is not an approved location or that they are not a Safelite affiliated shop and lead the policyholder to believe that there is something wrong with their choice of glass repair facilities and then they will come right out and ask the policyholder if they can schedule an appointment for Safelite to do the work! That’s right, they will try to steal the customer right out the front door of the non-Safelite shop! By the time the consumer gets off the phone, they are usually angry, confused or both. The non-Safelite shop owner hears the complaint but the policyholder rarely wants to take the complaint further for many reasons.
They don’t have time. They are afraid there will be repercussions in the form of denied claims, higher premiums or policy cancellation. That is why Ms Tommelleo hasn’t had any consumer complaints.
Neither a Safelite glass repair facility nor a non-Safelite glass repair facility nor any other business should be forced to deal with a direct competitor during a routine business transaction. Shame on any insurance company that contracts with Safelite Solutions, LLC …
The truth is, there is no good network.
The law should apply to all the networks.
I live in schyuler falls new york and am a small business auto glass shop. Safelite and lynx combined steer like they r on a race track
Absolute autoglass. I will not quit