Safelite Suspends Expansion Plans in Arizona
March 26, 2012

by Katie O'Mara,

Safelite announced that it will suspend plans to expand the company’s Chandler, Ariz. call center facility. A proposed amendment to an Arizona bill is threatening to require Safelite to alter their business practices, which would include the Chandler call center.

“Safelite Solutions’ expansion in Chandler remains on hold because of the unfriendly business climate we find ourselves in,” says Brian O’Mara, vice president of national contact center operations for Safelite. “We are still taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, but the expansion will eventually have to be made somewhere. We would like it to be in Arizona, but unfortunately, that cannot happen if we are going to be forced to refer claims to F-rated shops.”

The expansion was expected to create 300 new jobs immediately at the Chandler call center. The facility originally opened in June of 2010, and, according to the company, initially employed around 195. Safelite had projected at that time that eventually the facility would grow to around 1,000 employees.

”It's bad for policyholders — plain and simple. There are 49 other states plus DC where operations could be shifted, if this bill passes,” says O’Mara. “Our doors remain open to all policymakers to come see our facility and learn more about how we do business and how this bill would hurt Arizona consumers. We look forward to moving past this and developing a good working relationship with our legislators, our affiliate glass shops and all others that are interested in a fair and open market in the auto glass industry.”

In the amendment to the Arizona bill it states that if the insured, “ does not prefer a specific provider, the third party administrator shall provide the insured with the names of three randomly selected providers on the provider list on a rotating basis with no preference given to any provider. The third party administrator is required to offer all providers on the list before any provider may be offered again.”

“If the Arizona bill were to pass, Safelite could still handle claims for insurance companies. They could still use their 800 numbers. They could still process the calls and they could still do what third party administrators do,” says Kerry Soat, CEO for Fas-Break, Inc., in Chandler, Ariz., in response to Safelite’s news. “So threatening to close the Arizona call center or even give the impression their business would close in Arizona merely shows how much they want to keep the ‘status quo’ in Arizona. What's wrong with good service, good products and good installations as a way to compete in Arizona?”

The bill was referred to the Arizona Senate’s Rules Committee, which meets today.

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