Elephant Insurance Begins Requiring Auto Glass "Inspections" in Some Cases
August 8, 2011
Richmond, Va.-based Elephant Insurance (EI) has joined the ranks of insurers that sometimes require inspections prior to authorizing auto glass work, according to company officials.
“Due to an increasing frequency of auto glass claim insurance fraud, more and more insurance companies have altered their traditional claims process,” says Brian Wakefield of EI in an e-mail to a Midlothian, Va.-based auto glass shop owner who inquired about the policy. “This may involve a physical inspection of the alleged damage prior to the vehicle being repaired. This allows the insurance company to confirm that the damages are consistent with the reported claims.”
Michael Paley, owner of Freedom Glass, says he encountered the policy after having completed a windshield repair job for an Elephant policyholder, who’d previously reported the claim. Paley submitted a bill to the insurer, and says the customer received a letter shortly after that his claim had been denied as he had not had the damage inspected prior to having the work done.
“If an insured calls in a claim, and receives a claim number, doesn’t Elephant consider a claim number to be an authorization for work to be performed?” asks Paley.
It is unclear how the Elephant inspections are being conducted. Elephant officials had not responded to glassBYTEs.com™/AGRR™ magazine’s requests for comment at press time.
EI is a relatively new insurer, launched in 2009 by United Kingdom-based Admiral Insurance, according to information from the company’s website. Elephant offers automotive policies in Illinois, Maryland and Virginia.
Several auto insurers, including USAA, American Family and GEICO, have launched auto glass inspection programs in recent years. A USAA spokesperson had advised glassBYTEs.com/AGRR magazine that the program was launched there in an effort to reduce fraudulent claims.
In the case of USAA, Safelite Solutions, which administers its auto glass claims program, dispatches Safelite AutoGlass technicians to conduct the inspections. Safelite Solutions senior vice president of client sales and support Peter Pearson wrote an article earlier this year for Claims Advisor touting the benefits of such programs and had noted that, as of March 6, when the article was published, pre-inspection programs had been implemented in Arizona, California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia. However, this is the first report glassBYTEs.com/AGRR magazine has received of a pre-inspection being required in Virginia.
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