Forty-three insurance agents and brokers have been fined a total of $42,650 for accepting kickbacks, or failing to supervise staff who accepted kickbacks, to steer customers to certain auto glass repair shops, New York Insurance Superintendent James Wrynn announced Friday.
The agents and brokers work at more than two dozen different insurance agencies in Western and Central New York. They are accused of accepting gift cards in return for recommending two specific glass shops to auto insurance customers who had filed claims to have their vehicles repaired.
State law prohibits insurance agents and brokers from accepting payments to steer their customers to specific auto repair shops…
…and, the moral of that story is…in Mississippi it would be a “federal crime”…just ask former Judge Bobby DeLaughter.
Lester said the investigation was begun when Bison Glass, which operates throughout Western New York, contacted the Insurance Department and said it was discontinuing the practice because it could no longer afford to make the payments. A second glass repairer, Pat’s Glass Inc., which had operated in Wyoming County, provided additional information after it went out of business.
The fines – ranging in amounts from $250 to $5,000 — followed an investigation by the New York State Insurance Department…
There are at least two ways to resolve the problem. One comes at no cost. Insurance companies could stop taking kick backs. Duh! Likely, the cost of repairing glass would go down without the cost of kickbacks added.
The other solution would be to come up with some sort of program to cover up the lack of integrity in the industry. Naturally, the good hand in a boxing glove would be the first out with such a program.
Allstate Insurance announced last week that it will begin recording and tracking a set of “Key Performance Indicators” for auto glass shops on its Glass Claims Express (GCE) network, effective November 1. The indicators will include items such as competitiveness on pricing, a customer satisfaction index and warranty frequency/performance and will be used to “determine which providers will participate in Allstate’s Distinguished Performer” program.
Those who are selected for the Distinguished Performer program and are also GLAXIS e-scheduling enabled also will be featured on the company’s new web application, which will allow consumers to make glass claims, confirm coverage and deductibles and schedule work via the company’s website, according to the announcement.
Though the company says consumer choice will remain top priority, for those customers who do not have a preference of glass shop, Allstate will “provide the customer with the name(s) of GCE participating glass service providers who, according to their track record, are known to consistently deliver quality service to our customers.”
“Allstate will continue to honor the choices of our policyholders and claimants may have a glass service provider of their choosing, but with this new model, a model designed for increased customer satisfaction, Allstate will feature Distinguished Performers when asked for assistance by our policyholders,” writes the company.
GCE participants will be able to view their Key Performance Indicator results on the METRYX site, which also will note areas that require improvement.
Allstate requires those eligible to be placed on the Distinguished Performer program to:
- have been in the program for no less than 180 days;
- demonstrate a customer satisfaction index that “meets or exceeds the established [Key Performance Indicator] level;”
- have performed not fewer than 60 replacement jobs for GCE (or repairs for repair-only businesses]; and
- demonstrate warranty performance “as measured by Allstate at a level that meets the [Key Performance Indicator] level.”
The announcement also notes that auto glass providers must utilize NAGS parts “as a percent of total replacement parts utilized will be measured by Allstate to determine ‘Best in Class’ performance that considers local market conditions/differences.”
…Allstate is dubbing the changes “the Next Generation of Glass Claims Express.”
That certainly sounds better that “the Next Generation of Kick-backs”.