Field of Vision Jan/Feb 2021

Confused Much?

By Tara Taffera

After 23 years of covering the glass industry, I don’t get confused easily when it comes to writing for our publications, including AGRR, here at Key Media & Research. But if it happens, it’s when we are talking about the terms OE, OEM and aftermarket glass. Throw insurance and all of its terms into the mix and it’s even more mind boggling. Of course I know what it all means but sometimes I really have to stop for a second and think—like really wrap my brain around it all. And if understanding how this all works wasn’t difficult enough, people also talk about OEE-OE equivalents—if there even is such a thing. So, when it comes to all of this it’s hard to get people to agree.

Case in point: for my feature article on page 16, I reached out to representatives in the auto glass industry, from claims administrators, to auto glass distributors, to glass makers, and then studied all the position statements related to auto glass replacement from car makers. When interviewing Paul McFarland, senior director of supply chain management for LYNX Services, I said, “Let me read to you something one of the glass makers told me and you can tell me if you agree with it.”

Here was that statement: “Whether to use OE glass or aftermarket is a decision that the vehicle owner has to make since insurance companies do not cover the cost to replace broken or damaged glass with OE glass at the same rate as they do for ARG. If the vehicle owner chooses to pay the difference for OE glass, then that is certainly their choice to do so.”

I asked him this question as a basis for the interview, to start things off, and so he could share with me how the claims process works when it comes to claims of OE versus aftermarket, etc.

So pretty early on it became evident that, according to McFarland at least, it’s not so cut and dry. Here was his answer: “Not universally no. Different insurance companies have different processes and approvals based on their procedures.” So I tried a different tactic to wrap my brain around it all. “Okay so let’s say Honda requires a windshield to be replaced with OE glass.”

“Let me stop you right there,” he said. “They [collectively, the car-makers] don’t say require.”

“Right,” I replied, (after all, I had looked at all the statements). “They say things like ‘recommend,’ etc.”

Ultimately, the answers to all these questions really comes down to the retailers in the auto glass segments, as they make the choice for what products they must buy and explain those differences to the vehicle owners, said McFarland.

Wonderful, I thought: Just another confusing issue for the auto glass manager. There was just so much to pack into the article on page 16, that I want to talk to you for your view on all this in an upcoming edition. Hopefully, you can explain from your perspective how this truly affects your business.

I look forward to continuing the conversation—but not getting more confused.

Tara Taffera is the editorial director of AGRR magazine/

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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