On May 24, National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) past presidents Dave
Taylor and Bill Batley, director of operations Peg Stroka, NWRA board member Jackie
Newman, Independent Glass Association (IGA) executive director Marc Anderson and
IGA president Dave Zoldowski met with Bob Bischoff, national glass manager of
State Farm and two of his associates, Devin Fair and Tom Bergeron, in Minneapolis.
According to sources at the meeting, they discussed the insurance company's decision
to stop waiving the deductible for windshield repair.
Bischoff stated that State Farm is not "backing away from repair," rather he said that the company will continue to encourage repair. He noted that many State Farm insureds have no deductible for comprehensive and therefore State Farm will continue to pay for their windshield repairs. Bischoff was unable to quantify the number of repairs under the current program, the number anticipated after State Farm discontinues deductible waiver for repair or the anticipated increase in the number of replacements.
He stated that insureds with deductibles will continue to be provided with windshield repair information. Insureds interested in repair will be given the Offer & Accept shops' information using the same basis of selection as if State Farm were paying the invoice. He anticipates that as many insureds will call their agents directly, many will be given the O&A shop information directly by their agent. When asked if LYNX/State Farm's customer service representatives will continue using the same scripting for windshield repair, Bischoff replied that scripting was currently being reviewed and that changes are possible.
When queried about rumors of a different selection process for cash-paying insureds to be assigned to service providers, he categorically denied any plan to change the current open-selection model. The only difference from the current process would be that insureds with deductibles would have to pay the repairer or auto glass shop directly. When questioned about a referral fee for windshield repair or auto glass replacement when the cost of service exceeds the insured's deductible, Bischoff responded that State Farm has no current plans to charge a referral fee; however, he stated that he did not know at the time what LYNX would do about the referral fee.
He expressed interest in the development of the standard for repair of laminated automobile glass and invited the NWRA and IGA representatives to contact him with any further questions or concerns.
State Farm will roll out the discontinuance of windshield repair deductible in seven states starting December 1, 2005 and plans to complete the roll-out throughout 2006.
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