Repair Roundup Nov/Dec 2020

The Industry’s Seismic Shift

By Linda Rollinson

There is no truer cliche: what a difference time makes. Consider how different our lives are now than they were just nine months ago, and how a short amount of time can change everything.

Updates on Insurers

The fact that short amounts and big differences hit me in the face while I was reviewing the updated booklet, “A Technician’s Guide to Contacting and Communicating with Insurance Companies.” This research-intensive document is produced by the National Wind-shield Repair Division (NWRD) and it provides members with a fast list of claims administrators, and their contacts, for all major insurers. The Guide is a member service of the NWRD, which is a division of the Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC), so it is available to all members of the NWRD and the AGSC.

NWRD has committed to updating this manual at least semi-annually going forward. A new Guide was just issued last month. Previous to this, it was updated every few years, so the last update before this new edition dated October 2020 was in April 2017.

Changes Abound

The 2017 Guide included approximately 85 insurers; the new one includes approximately 250, a result of the Guide’s expansion rather than increases in the numbers of insurers in existence.

So how much of a shift was there in the 3-1/2 years between the last edition and this one? A seismic one. In 2017, approximately 44 percent of the insurers tracked by NWRD used the country’s largest third party administrator (TPA). Today, 66 percent do. Let that sink in. That’s a 50 percent increase.

In addition, the number of TPAs in existence has decreased since our 2017 report, mostly due to consolidation. For example, Harmon Solutions Group was acquired by TruRoad in 2018. TruRoad, which also owned StrategicClaim, was acquired by Safelite in August 2019.

Keeping Up with the TPAs

Some major insurers also switched TPAs during the past three years. Amica, Grinell, Hartford, Horace Mann, Western National have all moved from other TPAs to the largest provider during that time. A few moved in the opposite direction as well, but the TPA with the second most insurance accounts has approximately 12% of the insurers we tracked. Let that sink in for a minute too. The number one TPA services 66% of the insurers we tracked; number two services 11%.

Well, you might say, the number of insurers is not necessarily indicative of the number of claims or the dollar volume of those claims and you’d be right.

Auto Glass Estimates

Guestimates of the percentage of auto glass work that is done through insurers varies generally from 45% to 55%, though the percent of repairs done through insurers may be lower.

As we consider and track market dynamics, one thing is clear: we need to follow not only the companies that provide auto glass services, but the companies that administer the insurance claims, to see the trends clearly.

LINDA ROLLINSON is the chairperson of the National Windshield Repair Division of the Automotive Glass Safety Council™ as well as owner of Superior Auto Glass of Tampa Bay Inc. in New Port Richey, Fla.

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


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