Industry Responds to Insurer Auto Glass Inspection Programs
January 14, 2011

In light of the recent announcement that USAA has joined the ranks of insurers that have said they may require "inspections" prior to authorizing auto glass work, several industry representatives have expressed concern with these policies (and the fact that in some cases Safelite representatives are conducting the inspections).

In addition, one reader has reported that the Hartford has requested inspections for jobs he has completed. Rich Campfield, owner of Ultra Bond in Grand Junction, Colo., says has encountered requests for inspections a few times over the last month with claims involving The Hartford.

"[The CSR] asked [the customer] if [the glass was] repaired yet or not, then they stated that the damage might have to be inspected by Hartford," says Campfield, who observed the conversation as the customer called the insurer from his shop, utilizing a speaker phone. "The consumer told [the CSR that he was] at the shop and wanted the repair done then."

Though he says he didn't initially receive pushback at the time of the call, Campfield says the customer did end up with a bill from his insurer, who declined to pay the full amount of the charges billed for the work Ultra Bond had done.

But Campfield (and others) have suggested that the inspections could be opening the door for a new method of steering.

"They ask, 'is it repaired yet?' … ," says Campfield. "If it's not repaired yet they're going to try to get them to leave."

He adds, "We've had two appointments this week cancelled because [the customers] called their insurance companies."

At press time, neither Hartford nor Safelite officials had responded to requests for comment.

In response to concerns that inspections could lead to steering at USAA, company spokesperson Rebecca Hirsch advised the following regarding the Safelite technicians conducting the inspections.

"There is no direction or approval for repair given to these inspectors," she says. "Once [the] inspection is completed, the member then has a conversation with a representative at Safelite Solutions to actually schedule the work and have it completed. If there is damage, the member chooses who does the repair."

Some have expressed concern for the consumer as well.

"I sure feel sorry for those insureds," says Alan Maupin, president of Riteway Auto Glass in Shepherdsville, Ky. "They don't have a clue what's coming. Talk about steering—it doesn't get any more direct than this."

Have you encountered an insurer that required a windshield inspection prior to authorization? Please e-mail pstacey@glass.com.

Need more info and analysis about the issues?
Subscribe to AGRR Magazine.