“I’m hoping that with Solera Holdings, [LYNX Services] can compete with Safelite Solutions’ dominance in the third-party administrator (TPA) [of automotive glass claims’] arena,” says Henry Peralta, sales manager for Stockton Auto Glass in Stockton, Calif. Westlake, Texas-based Solera Holdings is in the process of purchasing Pittsburgh Glass Works’ (PGW) Insurance and Services Division, which includes LYNX Services, GTS and Glaxis, along with other information technology services.
“Maybe Solera can take insurance companies from Safelite Solutions and take with it the steering that Safelite does. I don’t think Solera has an automotive glass replacement division, so it won’t have the temptation to steer,” Peralta adds.
LYNX currently serves ten of the top 20 U.S. property and casualty insurers, according to Solera officials.
“I can’t see how this [deal] would impact us in the field other than in a positive way,” says John McAuley, a SuperGlass Windshield Repair franchisee in St. Petersburg, Fla.
“As with any sale, if the current management stays then the company remains the same. If the management changes then we will see what we will see,” says Kerry Soat, owner of Fas-Break in Chandler, Ariz.
Speculation on what this deal could mean for the industry is also afloat on the glassBYTEs.com™/AGRR™ magazine forum.
“Solera is in the business of selling software to body shops. That’s way bigger than glass and always will be. Watch for those glass referrals headed towards collision shops sooner rather than later,” says one poster.
“I see it already. Jobs will now be sent to body shops and they will pay the glass guy $50 labor to put it in while they have their guys trained to install glass. Then no need for the glass guy,” writes another poster.
The company provides software and services to the automobile insurance claims processing and other decision support industries.
Solera’s ties to the automotive glass industry are long-standing Tony Aquila founded and served as CEO of Ensera, which developed software that streamlined the automotive collision claims workflow for insurance carriers. Ensera was sold in 2001 to Mitchell International, which appointed Aquila as its president and chief operating officer. He left and founded Solera in January 2005 and partnered with GTCR Golder Rauner, a private equity firm, to purchase the Claims Services Group of Automatic Data Processing for $975 million in April 2006. In May 2007, Solera closed its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. Six months later, the company completed a secondary stock offering.
Garen Staglin, an investor and director for Solera up until January 2011, was the CEO and chairman of Safelite AutoGlass from 1993 to 1999.
To view the company’s third-quarter fiscal-year results, click here.