Alpine Glass Receives $137K Arbitration Award
September 6, 2012
by Casey Neeley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alpine Glass of Minneapolis, Minn., has won an arbitration award
against the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) in the
amount of $137,019. This award, decided on August 27, is the most
recent win in a string of arbitration victories Alpine has had against
several third-party administrators alleging short pay.
The dispute arose between the two companies when, according to the
memorandum from the amended arbitration, USAA "refused to pay
the full amount of [an] invoice, asserting that the price of the
glass part [windshield] was 'grossly inflated.'"
Mike Reid, president of Alpine Glass, says, "We made every
attempt to work something out with USAA but they are one of the
most uncooperative insurers I have run across in my 20 years in
"[The] USAA [award] is important because we won 100 percent
of what we were seeking," Reid continues. "When we go
into these cases, the burden of proof is on us to prove that our
price is fair. In every instance we have proved that and therefore
we have won in every single instance."
In the memo, arbitrator Peter W. Riley says, "as set forth
in the Arbitration Award, the arbitrator has determined that USAA
breached its contract in failing to make payment on the full Alpine
Reid considers this another validation for not only his company,
but also the auto glass industry as a whole. He hopes Alpine's consistent
push against short pays helps other members of the industry see
that they do not have to accept unreasonable payments from insurance
Alpine's attorney, Chuck Lloyd of Livgard & Lloyd, says "Alpine
is not the exception; glass companies have had success in pursuing
short pay claims. Although not uniformly across the board, the vast
majority of claims asserted by companies, certainly in Minnesota,
have resulted in additional payments."
"What helps is [other industry members] knowing that there
is a remedy to get paid what's fair and reasonable and to recoup
what the short pay is," says Reid. "That's my end goal;
so the glass industry is aware that because you bill out $1,000
and the insurance company pays you $400, you don't have to eat that
$600 short pay."
Alpine has been awarded several other arbitrations. On July 25,
Alpine won a six-figure
award against Liberty Mutual for short pays. Additional wins
include five other six-figure awards from Illinois
Farmers, Allstate and American Family.
According to Reid, Alpine will continue to bring legal action for
"We will continue to collect what is owed to Alpine even if
that means more arbitration," states Reid. "Our first
goal is to work out a deal that is fair to both us and the insurers
but when insurers such as USAA don't respond it leaves us no choice
but to go through arbitration."
Lloyd adds, "Alpine intends to continue to pursue just compensation
and if that means litigation against insurers, all indications are
that Alpine is fully prepared to go down that path and do so very
Safelite may be behind the defense built in these cases, Lloyd speculates.
"It seems as though the defense of these arbitrations is being
directed by Safelite; I say that because the arguments that the
insurance companies are making are the same, the exhibits are identical
and Tom Reid comes in and testifies every time," says Lloyd.
"The arbitrators are consistently finding that the testimony
and statistical information aren't credible and don't justify denying
USAA officials declined to comment on the decision.
This story is an original story by AGRR™ magazine/glassBYTEs.com™. Subscribe to AGRR™ Magazine.
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