Review of Minnesota Department of Commerce Complete

The Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor has published its special review regarding the Minnesota Department of Commerce: Investigation of Auto Glass Insurance Processing by Safelite Solutions LLC.

More than a year ago, in March 2017, Minnesota lawmakers Rep. Kelly Fenton, (R-Woodbury) and Rep. Tony Albright, (R-Prior Lake) wrote a letter to Governor Mark Dayton that expressed their disapproval of Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) Commissioner Michael Rothman and his decision that they said violated Safelite’s First Amendment rights.

The Minnesota DOC had asserted that Safelite was being deceptive by using the words “may be” in reference to possible balance-billing customers for using out-of-network vendors. In the letter sent February 27, the lawmakers rail against Rothman, who they say handled the case unfairly and engaged in inappropriate dealings with Safelite competitors in order to benefit them. The letter states that the judge’s order to conduct the investigation of the company was a blatant violation of its rights with the sole purpose of providing confidential investigation information to Safelite competitors for their benefit.

The letter also outlined the DOC’s alleged abuse of power, saying the department believed it had the right to endlessly drag the trial out and continually investigate Safelite without proper cause, and its utter disregard for limits on the department’s reach. The letter concludes by stating that the department does not work within the confines of the law and does not have the taxpayer’s interest at heart.

Special Report Issued April 2017

This all led to Rep.  Fenton asking the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) to examine whether a Department of Commerce investigator complied with the Government Data Practices Act when he disclosed information about the ongoing Safelite investigation to a representative of the repair shops that brought the allegations against Safelite.

“We concluded that the investigator did not comply with the relevant provision in the Data Practices Act, but we found no harm to individuals that resulted from his action,” state James Nobles, legislative auditor, in a letter authored in the special report. “Rather, his action added to a perception that the Department of Commerce did not conduct its Safelite investigation objectively or in strict compliance with state law.” (Click here for the full report.)

 

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4 Responses to Review of Minnesota Department of Commerce Complete

  1. Kerry Soat says:

    I find 1st Amendment arguments for speech to be baseless since Safelite continually states they are merely repeating the scripted scripts of the insurance companies.
    An insurance company would not use “may be billed if you use an out of network provider”. They would either stipulate “you will be billed” or “you will not be billed”. They do not use misleading statements to give an air of doubt. Thereby the issue. Not free speech.
    The above listed statement in the article gives an uncertain air of finding on the report. Here is the true finding.

    CONCLUSION
    A Department of Commerce investigator did not comply with the applicable provisions of
    the Government Data Practices Act when he disclosed information about an ongoing
    investigation of auto glass insurance claims processing by Safelite Solutions, LLC.

    The investigator disclosed information about the investigation which was wrong, not that the investigation “was wrong”.

    Big Difference.

    Kerry Soat
    CEO
    Fas-Break Inc.

  2. Jay Sampson says:

    Attorneys, bureaucrats and TPAs…little peas in the same dirty insurance company pod…
    TPA steering is pretty blatant…and obvious to anyone with a functioning brain cell who spends one hour on the phones at an average indy AGRR shop. It’s always been like that. Always will be, I bet. Safelite will spend million$ denying it and talking out of both sides of their mouth ’til the end of time. Reckon I would too if it was my ship to steer…pun intended.

  3. Jerry says:

    Since when does the first amendment cover telling lies? In my opinion Safelite CSR’s lie to our customers with impunity, and for some reason SL is untouchable. There’s more than one way to steal. Just sayin……..

  4. DAVEYCREWCUT-RETIRED says:

    As I have pointed out before, Mr. Rothman goofed up in its lawsuit against Safelite.

    Safelite Solutions, llc is a TPA when it should not even be allowed to be a TPA due to the conflict of interest involved. Since Safelite is also a service provider, regulators are essentially permitting a service provider to administer claims, not only for their own customers which is bad enough, but also for claims of insureds that are customers of Safelite’s direct competitors!

    Truth be told, the majority of service providers participating in Safelite’s so called network
    did not freely join the network but were coerced into joining because if they didn’t join they knew that their customers and potential customers would be steered away from them or at least steering attempts would have been made and negative aspersions would have been cast every time Safelite representatives suggested during the claims settlement process that customers “might” be balanced billed (even when Safelite had been told that no balance billing would occur) and when non-participating shop warranties were called into question.

    The bottom line is that service providers like Safelite, in this case, shouldn’t have even been allowed to settle claims due to the conflict of interest. If Mr. Rothman had zeroed in on that aspect, the courts and everyone else would have realized that Safelite should never have been in the position to utter anything to claimants especially those wishing to use a non network shop.

    One can’t have his freedom of speech violated if he shouldn’t have been in the position to say anything in the first place!

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