NWRA Annual Meeting Includes Issues. Fireworks in Minneapolis

MAY 23--The National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) held its annual meeting today at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis, tackling issues ranging from the certification requirements of different locations to the future of windshield repair.

Early morning buzz among attendees included a discussion of the role insurance companies play in the repair industry and whether or not State Farm’s shift away from waiving insurance deductibles is beneficial. That buzz turned out to be the hot topic at the meeting, particularly where a formal statement from the association is concerned.

Glen Moses of Safelite began the morning session with a recap of what happened in Connecticut with regard to repair licensure. He encouraged those in the audience to make sure that they know what is happening in his or her home state.

“You may have to approach the powers that be in that state to make sure you’re on that mailing list or e-mail list or something that will keep you in the loop,” he said.

From the onset Moses called for audience participation by those who were attending the NWRA meeting and had been at the Connecticut meeting as well. One of those on whom he called was Mike Boyle, president of GlasWeld.

“If we can’t communicate to the community the value of the association, this is the hinge-pin,” Boyle said of the effort that the association undertook in Connecticut (see glassBYTES January 2005).

Moses was followed by Leo Cyr, vice president of the National Glass Association’s (NGA) auto glass segment, who discussed state licensure and the overall status in different states.

“NGA wasn’t prepared for Texas. We were caught completely by surprise,” Cyr admitted, adding that legislation is in the works in Louisiana and Maryland.

After a short break, Kerry Wanstrath of Glass Technologies (and AGRR magazine columnist) spoke as to what he sees is the future of windshield repair. He was followed by Dave Taylor with Cindy Rowe Auto Glass who opened the discussion about the relationship between the insurance and auto glass repair industries.

From there, the open board meeting began, with the election of new board members and officers. Paul Syfko of GlasMedic was reelected president and Dave Casey of Superglass will serve as vice president, and Dave Taylor reprises his position as secretary/treasurer. New board members now include Dave Erwin, Paul Gross, Jackie Newman, Jay Sampson and Wanstrath.

The board meeting, which also took on the subject of the insurance industry’s influence and its importance to the repair industry, ran longer than participants may have expected at the onset. Part of the discussion revolved around whether or not the Association would make a formal statement in response to recent news that State Farm insurance will no longer waive the deductible for windshield repair. The discussion continued long enough that a lunch break was called before a decision had been reached.

The afternoon session began with a continuation of the board meeting with a mutual segue into the open discussion of the situation with State Farm.

“This may be the chance we have to build a position,” said Boyle.

After some discussion regarding wording and intention, the board voted for a formal statement by the association that states “The NWRA only supports insurers who support repair.”

Before the board meeting wrapped, members of the board—and some members of the audience—had a lengthy discussion as to the role the manufacturers play in the association. Boyle introduced the topic, one he acknowledged he had not spoken to some board members about before the meeting. He said conversations among manufacturers, including him, had led to a mutual feeling that the Association needs to evolve into more of a manufacturer’s association. When questioned how bringing in more manufacturers and encouraging more manufacturer participation would help, Boyle explained that, as he and others saw it, more manufacturer involvement would bring in more money as well as more reason for manufacturers to encourage their customers to join the Association.

The discussion about the topic became heated at points before the decision was made to start a manufacturers’ subcommittee, with Boyle at the helm. Boyle and the subcommittee will create and present an agenda before the next NWRA board meeting.

As the board meeting had run longer than scheduled, the panel discussion regarding chip and nick repair had to be omitted and the Annual meeting wrapped with Thom Inman’s interactive game about windshield repair. Set up similarly to a high-school academic team competition, the Dingers won the game with a total score of 1094.

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