Inspection Update: USAA Continues to Evaluate Program; Safelite Officials Respond to Steering Concerns
March 14, 2011

Three months into the recently enacted USAA auto glass inspection program, in which the company will sometimes require an inspection prior to authorizing auto glass work, company officials say they’ve not yet decided whether to extend the program to the entire United States. It originally was rolled out in only five states.

“We only recently enacted the program and are still evaluating it, so we haven’t made a determination yet as to whether or not to extend it,” says USAA spokesperson Rebecca Hirsch.

Hirsch also clarified what the technicians who conduct the inspections (as employees of Safelite, which processes USAA’s auto glass claims) look for during an inspection.

“The inspection is to confirm that there is damage to the windshield that requires a repair or replacement,” she says.

When asked what kind of training the technicians who act as inspectors receive and what they look for during an inspection, Safelite spokesperson Melina Metzger answered as follows.

“Safelite’s techs undergo extensive training within the SAFETECH® certification program,” she says. “Technicians inspect for damage and make their determination based on their expertise and generally accepted industry standards.”

Some independent auto glass shop representatives have expressed concerns that this could open the way for steering of work to Safelite shops. However, Metzger denied these claims.

“Safelite technicians inspecting vehicles simply verify whether damage exists and, if so, whether it is repairable,” says Metzger. “Once they verify the repair or replacement is needed, they notify the insurance company, which then coordinates with the customer to schedule an appointment with their shop of choice.”

Hirsch echoed Metzger’s thoughts on steering.

“ … I do want to emphasize again that we respect member choice,” she says. “If damage is found, our members are free to choose their own auto glass shop provider.”

Have any of your customers undergone an inspection prior to authorization of auto glass work? Please e-mail pstacey@glass.com.

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