NICB Runs "Windshield Bully" Ads on National Programs; Safelite Helps Produce PSA
January 4, 2011

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) ran several public service announcements warning consumers about windshield bullies on several national programs throughout the month of December, according to NICB spokesperson Frank Scifaldi. The ads were developed in conjunction with Safelite Solutions, according to Safelite company spokesperson Melina Metzger.

“[The ad program] was developed in response to the increase in suspicious auto glass claims as well as NICB member companies reporting an increase in these kinds of claims,” he says.

Last month, NICB reported a 511 percent increase in questionable auto glass claims for the first three quarters of 2010, when compared with 2009.

Metzger says Safelite has seen a similar rise through its role as a third-party administrator.

“As a third-party administrator for many insurance companies’ vehicle glass claims, Safelite Solutions has seen a spike in complaints from policyholders about the business practices of windshield bullies,” she says. “To define a windshield bully, they are not reputable vehicle glass businesses, but rather those who prey on policyholders, using high-pressure tactics to coerce them into filing a vehicle glass claim at gas stations, car washes, or by going door to door. Their approach is typically pushy, and in some cases (not all), their actions are fraudulent. This harms both consumers and our insurance clients.”

She adds, “Approximately 50 percent of the glass claims that are reported by these companies do not have damage to the windshield that needs repaired or replaced … To fight this unethical practice, Safelite Solutions partnered with NICB to develop a public service announcement (PSA) using a phone call from one of our real customers—evidence of the growing problem of windshield bullies. Other reputable glass companies are in agreement that it is a concern and have also offered support to the NICB in promoting the PSA.”

 

The PSA features the voice of an elderly woman heard calling her insurance company to explain that she thinks her windshield has been replaced unnecessarily after an encounter at a gas station. (Click on the player to hear the ad.)

“I don’t know for sure when [my windshield was damaged],” she says. “They said yesterday but I don’t know … I don’t like this. I don’t think I need a new windshield. I don’t know what they’re up to. Well, they put it on before I had a chance to talk to my insurance company or anything. Boy, I’m not stopping at this station anymore.”

NICB developed both a 30-second and 60-second version of the commercials, which ran between December 4-24 on a variety of radio programs, including several NFL games, NCAA basketball and football games, Associated Press news reports, and a few other programs.

“NICB has been getting a lot of complaints from our member companies about all these glass claims,” adds Scifaldi, who is based in Sacramento. “I even see it out here, I’ll go up to a gas station and I’ll see someone offering free glass repair.”
“Where the fraud comes in, it depends,” he adds.


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