Perfect Storm: IGA Responds to Catherine Howard's Article

By Marc Anderson
(source: Beacon Bulletin, 1/24/04)

Catherine Howard's article could not be more important - because it says what NAGS has not and because it spells out the enormity of the disaster which is about to befall the auto glass industry, " ink will be oozing from every poor glass shop out there."

We believe net priced parts will increase from 3,900 to 5,200. We think this will put thousands out of business.

NAGS has dug in their heels about February 28. They are, apparently, afraid of being seen as "backing down." Let us relieve them of that fear. It is not backing down. It is the single most destructive act which has ever been or possibly ever will be visited upon the auto glass industry. At best, their refusal to provide more time will put thousands of companies out of business. At worse, it will cause chaos, put most companies out of business and perhaps even destroy the entire industry.

Reversing direction when you realize you are on a truly destructive course is not backing down. It is an act of strength. Doing the right thing always takes more courage than doing what is expedient. Making a serious mistake is one thing. Refusing to acknowledge it and refusing to take corrective action is the real crime here.

Ms. Howard might be saying that, in the long run, NAGS will have done so much damage, that they may have outlived their usefulness and the only way for many shops to survive after 2/28 is to stop referring to NAGS on their invoices.

There is another point Ms. Howard makes which is even more important than the particulars of this crisis and that is: What is the industry's response? Is the industry too weak to even respond? Substitute the word "weak" for "unorganized" because it's the same thing. "Strong" industries are those that can respond to crises. Industries, which are thousands of individuals, who refuse to meet and work together, cannot respond to anything.

The issue is whether or not auto glass companies will begin billing an hourly labor rate and will be clear with the insurers they expect to be paid.

Even for those businesses which have a competent understanding of their numbers, they will not survive if the insurers take advantage of this by continuing to pay based on discounts from NAGS as though net priced parts can be treated the same as the others.

We ask NAGS - do the right thing. Hold off. Do not go forward on such a destructive course of action.

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