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Archive for the ‘Auto Glass’ Category

5 Things Every Glass Shop Owner/Manager Should Do Within The Next 30 Days

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

For people who run glass companies that replace automobile glass, here are five things you should do within thirty days of reading this post:

1) Familiarize – or refamiliarize – yourself with the AGRSS standard for windshield replacement.  This is a liability issue.  The ANSI approved Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard will likely be the standard by which your installation techniques are evaluated should there be an allegation that your technician negligently replaced a windshield.  Whether you register with AGRSS is up to you.  Following the AGRSS standard on every installation is essential to avoiding liability and, hopefully, avoiding problems in the first instance.  Find the AGRSS standard on line, go through each of its requirements and assess how your team meets that standard.  If there are issues, address them now, not later.

2)  Review the terms of your written warranty and make sure that it covers everything you want it to cover and nothing more.  Don’t have a written warranty?  Get one.  Having a well written limited warranty does many things for an auto glass replacement company.  It shows you to be a company that stands behind your work and gives comfort to your customer that they can rely on your workmanship.  It provides a tool in the constant battle to combat steering.  How many times have your customers cancelled appointments with your company because a third-party administrator suggests to the customer that you don’t guaranty your work?  You can provide the warranty to customers, post it on your web site, etc. to educate the customer.  If worded properly, a written warranty will identify what is covered by your warranty and what is not so that you don’t end up addressing perils you don’t want or have to cover.  The written warranty is an important document; it merits review from time to time.

3)  Evaluate your invoice/work order documents.  These are, perhaps, your most important tools in getting paid and earning a living.  Look at each section and make sure that it is clear, current and makes sense.  A lot of invoices I review are out of date and don’t make sense given current pricing models.  Also, make sure that every document that references payment contains an assignment of insurance proceeds rather than simply a direction to pay.  If you aren’t sure whether your invoice and work order are doing what they should, call us.  We can help straighten this out.

4)  Make an appointment with your insurance broker/agent and review your insurance coverages to make sure you have the right kinds of coverage and sufficient levels of coverage for your business.  When was the last time you had an insurance review?  If it has been more than year ago, it has been too long.  For sure insurance is expensive but it’s not nearly as expensive as not having the right insurance or not having enough insurance.  Do you have insurance to cover the loss to your business if your office manager embezzles from your company?  Are you covered if your building is hit by a tornado or has a fire?  Do you have a enough coverage if a car rolls over after you’ve replaced the windshield and the roof crushes killing or maiming a family?  Pay attention to the bad things that  happen to other businesses and see if they could happen to you and your business.

5)  Evaluate your supplier/provider relationships.  Are the businesses where you spend your money working with you as a partner or as a competitor?  Do they help your business or hurt it? For example, is your insurer someone with whom it is easy to report a claim, someone who promptly pays your claims and pays you a fair rate?  Are they a company that steers customers away from you, delays your payments or pays less than other insurers with whom you do business?  Does your glass supplier simply supply what you need or do they operate shops that compete with you as well?  In this economy, you need to be picky about those with whom you do business and make sure that they are working with you rather than against you.

Bonus Tip:   Do you have kids?  Do you have a will?  If you don’t have a will, make an appointment with an attorney and have a will prepared for you.  No one really wants to contemplate their own death.  If you have kids, however, you have to address the worst case scenario – something happens to you and your kids’ other parent.  You need to be a parent in the truest sense of the word and take care of those kids by designating guardians and making sure that, to the extent possible, your assets are orderly transferred to best take care of your kids.  Do yourself a huge favor and avoid downloading forms from the Internet or going to some web site that promises to save you money by providing a cookie cutter solution to what is an enormously important set of decisions.  It will definitely cost more to go to an attorney as opposed to filling in the blanks on a form but the value provided is significant.  Rarely are two families alike.  A competent attorney will be able to tailor your will to your situation.  Just like you wouldn’t use the wrong glass or adhesive in the installation of your family’s windshield, you don’t want to save a few dollars and get your will wrong.

Livgard & Lloyd client prevails in federal court of appeals

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

On Friday, June 17, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, in a published opinion, ruled in favor of our client, Alpine Glass, Inc., a Minnesota auto glass replacement company, in an appeal brought by Farmers Insurance over an arbitration award issued in favor of Alpine.  An arbitrator found that Farmers had breached its insurance policy in short paying Alpine’s glass replacement invoices and awarded Alpine more than $400,000.  The award was originally appealed to United States District Judge Patrick Schiltz who rejected Farmers’ complaints about the award and refused to set it aside.  Farmers then took an appeal to the Eighth Circuit.

The unanimous panel of judges affirmed Judge Schiltz’s order upholding the arbitration award.  It also affirmed Judge Schiltz’s decision that Farmers and Safelite sending out of pricing letters and confirmation faxes does not create a scenario where the glass shop is bound to the insurer’s prices when the shop performs replacement work.  The Eighth Circuit, like the Connecticut Supreme Court in an unrelated case in 2009 and Judge Schiltz earlier in this case, concluded that the insurer’s faxes do not present an offer for what is typically called a “unilateral contract.”  Insurers have recently tried using the unilateral contract defense in responding to short pay actions.  These most recent decisions should put an end to that effort.

Click here to read the Eighth Circuit’s opinion.

 

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Minnesota Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Livgard & Lloyd Clients

Monday, June 14th, 2010

On July 16, 2009, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in favor of the firm’s clients in an important case involving the ability of insurance policy holders to assign their insurance benefits for broken auto glass to the company that performs the replacement services. The Supreme Court’s decision reverses two Minnesota Court of Appeals decisions that had invalidated assignments of insurance proceeds. (more…)

Livgard & Lloyd Clients Prevail in Connecticut Supreme Court Decision

Monday, June 14th, 2010

On August 25, 2009, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in favor of the firm’s clients in a case involving an effort by insurance companies to limit their obligations to pay automobile glass claims such that the insurers are able to pay less than what their policies require them to pay. The Supreme Court’s decision reverses a Connecticut trial court decision holding that an insurance company could escape liability for paying otherwise valid glass claims by sending out advance reimbursement letters to every glass shop setting forth pricing lower than what the glass companies were charging. (more…)