Happy New Year: A Look at the Top Ten Stories of 2012
December 31, 2012

by Casey Neeley, cneeley@glass.com

As 2012 comes to a close and 2013 nears, glassBYTEs.com™/AGRR™ magazine has taken a look back at the top headlines of the year. Following is the ranking of the most popular stories of the year.

1. Special News Alert: Safelite Confirms Rich Harrison Has Left Company: In March, a spokesperson for Safelite confirmed that Rich Harrison, former chief operations officer (COO) for Safelite, was no longer with Safelite nor parent company Belron. Safelite spokesperson Melina Metzger told glassBYTEs.com that Steve Miggo would take over Harrison's duties. Up until early December, Harrison's LinkedIn account still listed him as an executive for Safelite, but today includes the following title: chief executive officer, chief operating officer, business development executive and strategist; he does not appear to be associated with any specific company.

2. Windshield Repair Supplier Sends Letter to Customers About Safelite Resin: Surface Dynamix sent a letter to its customers in early February alleging that Safelite's claims about its windshield repair resin are "misleading and deceptive." In the letter Surface Dynamix stated that the "failure to release specifics regarding the lab used and competitor products leave their results suspect."

3. Industry Responds to Completion of Allstate Move to Safelite: Allstate's move of its auto glass claims administration to Safelite Solutions, which took effect at the beginning of 2012, drew a heated reaction from across the industry and is still a popular topic of discussion on the glassBYTEs forum. In August, glassBYTEs also reported that Safelite has funded some of Allstate's windshield repair marketing materials.

4. There's a New Kid in Town: Rohlfing Founds 'Windshield Centers': Readers were quite interested when long-time industry veteran David Rohlfing announced in October that he was launching a new business called Windshield Centers. In a release issued to glassBYTEs.com earlier this year, Rohlfing said the entity will be "based on a technologically advanced and customer centric business model that will deliver exceptional service, price and performance." Sherry Stallings,who previously was with Binswanger Glass, joined the company as national account manager in December.

5. Safelite Files Suit Against Colorado-Based Safevue Auto Glass for Deceptive Practices and More: While news about Safelite is often popular among readers, one of the top-read stories this year dealt with a suit the Columbus, Ohio-based company filed against Denver-based Safevue Auto Glass for alleged misrepresentation to customers, trademark infringement, consumer fraud, deceptive trade practices, unfair competition, unjust enrichment and more. The company alleged that Safevue's telemarketing employees "have at times falsely identified themselves as representing Safelite or calling on behalf of Safelite." The case settled in August.

6. Safelite Suspends Expansion Plans in Arizona: Safelite recently suspended plans to expand the company's Chandler, Ariz. call center facility which also drew the attention of our readers. The company opened a green warehouse in Tucson, Ariz., in July.

7. Safelite Buys Klein-Dickert: The news November 1 that Safelite Auto Glass had purchased the auto glass business of Madison, Wisc.-based Klein-Dickert Co. Inc (KDCI) was met with a range of reactions throughout the industry. The deal, which was finalized October 31, sold the auto glass assets of KDCI to the world's largest replacement company. KDCI was a dominant player in Wisconsin for many years and has auto glass locations that service the greater Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Green Bay and Marinette areas. The acquisition was one in a string of recent purchases by Safelite.

8. Industry Legislation Sparks Opposition from Insurance Association and Safelite: In a move that kicked off nationwide attention to insurance steering reform, members of the auto glass industry reacted to South Carolina and Arizona anti-steering bills in February. While Arizona SB 1331 is still pending, South Carolina's HB 4042 was signed into law June 18. Since then, Massachusetts signed an auto glass bill with anti-steering provisions into law this past August.

9. Safelite and Southern Glass Agreement a 'Business Decision': Safelite Group announced mid-November that it had reached an agreement to acquire a majority of the vehicle glass division assets of Southern Glass & Plastics. Safelite officials finalized the deal on Saturday, November 17, at 12:01 a.m. Many industry members expressed surprise that the former Independent Glass Association president Alan Epley had sold his company to long-time rival Safelite, but Epley said it was merely a business decision as he approached retirement.

10. DNS Auto Glass Responds to Hidden Camera Investigation: While DNS Auto Glass, which reportedly has had ties to Coast to Coast Auto Glass, has drawn the attention of readers since its inception, a hidden camera investigation completed by a Kentucky news station also garnered interest from readers. According to a local report, a hidden camera allegedly caught a sales representative employed with the Louisville DNS Auto Glass shop allegedly committing insurance fraud. According to video from the television station, the salesman was attempting to file a claim with an insurance company for a windshield replacement when the windshield only suffered a small, repairable crack.

This story is an original story by AGRR™ magazine/glassBYTEs.com™. Subscribe to AGRR™ Magazine.
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