Connecticut Officials File Opposition to Safelite’s Request for Preliminary Injunction in Anti-Steering Case

The Connecticut public act designed help prevent steering by third-party insurance claims administrators to affiliated auto glass companies should remain intact to “protect consumer choice,” attorneys representing the state Attorney General and insurance commissioner claim in court documents filed with the U.S. District Court of Connecticut Monday in opposition to Safelite’s motion for a preliminary injunction to half enforcement of Public Act 13-67.

To support this claim, the defendants’ attorneys laid out specific examples of what happened with local independent auto glass shops when an insurance company switched from third-party claims administrator Lynx Services, which has no affiliated auto glass division, to Safelite Solutions, which is affiliated with Safelite AutoGlass.

“For example, on or about January 1, 2012, Allstate Insurance Co. switched to Safelite Solutions after several years of using Lynx Services as its glass claims administrator. Unlike Safelite Solutions, Lynx Services has no ownership affiliation with any glass repair shop in Connecticut,” attorneys for the defendants claim. “As a result, when Lynx Services administered auto glass repair claims for Allstate it routinely provided consumers with the names of multiple non-affiliated glass repair shops in its approved network that were both capable of performing the repair and located within a reasonable distance of the consumer. By contrast, Safelite Solutions is not required by Allstate to provide the name of a non-affiliated repair shop to Connecticut consumers insured by Allstate.

“The effect that Allstate’s switch has had on consumer choice is reflected in the steep increase in the utilization rate of Safelite AutoGlass for consumers insured by Allstate,” they went on to claim. “For example, in 2011, under the Lynx system of affirmatively providing consumers with the names of non-Safelite affiliated shops, Action Glass LLC was chosen by consumers insured by Allstate 137 times. In 2012, after Safelite Solutions took over the Allstate account and stopped affirmatively providing the names of any non-Safelite affiliated shops, Action Glass was chosen by such consumers only 63 times in 2012—a decrease of more than 50 percent in one year. Action Glass is a longstanding member of Safelite Solutions’ approved network of glass repair shops.”

The attorneys included affidavits from owners of glass companies in support of their claim.

“For Auto Glass of Connecticut, also a longstanding participant in Safelite Solutions’ approved network, the decrease is even more striking, with consumers choosing the shop 86 times in 2011 (under the Lynx system), but only 10 times in 2012 (when Safelite Solutions was the claims administrator),”attorneys claim.

The attorneys go on to argue that this trend holds true across the board.

“Eight representative non-Safelite affiliated repair shops in Connecticut were chosen by consumers insured by Allstate 1,415 times in 2011 (under the Lynx system), yet those same repair shops were chosen by such consumers only 673 times in 2012 (when Safelite took over). All eight shops participate in Safelite Solutions approved network,” attorneys claim.

Attorneys for the Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and Thomas Leonardi, insurance commissioner, also highlighted other trends; however, this information was redacted in the public version of the court records. In a separate motion, the defendants’ attorneys moved to file these documents under seal with the court.

“The un-redacted version of the defendants’ memorandum contains limited discussion and brief reference to certain confidential commercial information of the plaintiffs and the insurance company clients of plaintiff Safelite Solutions LLC,” attorneys claim in this motion to seal documents. “The confidential commercial information the defendants seek to seal was provided by the plaintiffs in response to the defendants’ discovery requests.”

The information redacted in the filing includes how many “non-affiliated” repair shops in Connecticut are a part of Safelite’s approved network, but that the “affiliated” shops appear to get more business—laid out as a percentage.

“Connecticut law requires administrators of automotive glass insurance claims who own or share an ownership affiliation with an auto glass repair shop to provide Connecticut consumers with the name of at least one non-affiliated auto glass repair shop,” attorneys for the defendants claim “This requirement is constitutional because Connecticut has a substantial interest in protecting consumer choice in automobile insurance repair work and because the means chosen to carry out that interest—the requirement to provide the name of at least one non-affiliated shop—is narrowly tailored and will directly and materially advance the goal of protecting consumer choice.

“Many consumers do not have the name of an auto glass repair shop close at hand,” attorneys went on to claim. “Therefore, when an insurance claims administrator affiliated with an auto glass repair shop, like Safelite, does not provide the consumer with the name of a non-affiliated repair shop, the affiliated repair shop received a high disproportionate amount of repair work.”

The attorneys also claim, “… Insurance claims administrators remain free to determine which shop name to provide to any given consumers, including those of repair shops that participate in approved repair networks. Thus, Connecticut’s presumptively constitutional law is a minimal and narrowly tailored way to practically and effectively provide choice to consumers who usually do not know the names of any glass repair shops when they call their insurance claims administrator.”

Safelite had asked the U.S. District Court of Connecticut in August to “enjoin and declare invalid the portions of a recently enacted Connecticut statute.”

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6 Responses to Connecticut Officials File Opposition to Safelite’s Request for Preliminary Injunction in Anti-Steering Case

  1. J.W. says:

    Finally, the truth is coming out about what Safelite has done and is trying to do all over the USA. A copy of this should be sent to everyone’s state representatives, Insurance Commissioner, Attonery General and Governor. They work for us and should do what their suppose to do, save small business from “large corporation monopolies” such as this one and protect the consumer. All consumers should be informed in this matter that they have choices and that they have the right to choose who they want. I do not see how this could be unfair to anyone, if it is done the right way. The word out now is that one insurance company is telling it’s agents that they have to use Safelight. I have also heard that some Safelight sales people have told them that also. I wonder where all that pressure is being applied from?

  2. Agreed 100% Safelite and Safelite Solutions are one of the problems all independent shops face. Not that Lynx is any better…they steer to “Network” shops. Which is honestly no different then what Safelite is doing short of Lynx has no direct ownership of the “network” shops…but they do have a financial interest in GTS and PGW. Lynx doesn’t send independents much work, and what they do send is usually “garbage” rate jobs. They’re “network” shops get all the high list jobs and the rest of us suffer through the 50% off Nags jobs with a $190.00 list. The whole TPA system is this problem. The underwriters wash their hands and blame the TPA for the rates. The TPA washes their hands and blames the Underwriter for the rates. We all know it’s a scam the Insured and the Shop are the only who suffer.

  3. Glass1 says:

    Since Allstate switched to Safelite as their administrator, I have had customers tell me that our business is not approved by Allstate. Excuse me, but the approval is from the owner of the vehicle who wants repair. Approval should not be that I exchange discount pricing to Allstate in exchange for job volume and shortcuts in repair. Even if the customer dictates that they want to use our services they are told NO, UNLESS They want to go through a harder claims processing, no warranty (really..the insurance company is offering a warranty even when they are not performing the work?) and out of pocket expenses.
    Well, that’s enough to scare of any insured making a claim.

    These words have that underlining affect that consumers are to obey to their Godly Insurance Company, because for gosh sakes they already feel like they are in trouble that they are making a claim. These words make the consumer feel that they must obey, even though these same consumers have paid a premium price in annual coverage to the insurance company to indemnify them of their losses. Our customers are intimidated by this spiel. These customers wanted to use us and were coerced. I have had jobs STOLEN from our business due to this. This is not just Allstate, but just about all of the insurance companies that utilize Safelite Solutions as their claims management .

    This is more about an Auto Glass Installation Company being in bed with Insurance Companies and their ability to be in the front line of first notice of loss. Nice bed they have laid for themselves, and a lot of businesses feel that this is illegal. I would also like to point out that even if a consumer calls what they think is their insurance company and gets the Safelite Solutions network and finds out that their deductible is higher than the costs of repair, Safelite Solutions actually gives them a quote for repair cost and tells the consumer that THEY (the insurance reps?) can service them. (do insurance companies actually service auto damage???)

    To boot,
    Went to a scheduled job for windshield replacement, claim called in and everything in line with the supposed insurance co, got there and the customer informed us that a truck was already out there and replaced it. Customer thought it was us, but it was Safelite Auto Glass. They masked themselves as us because they had all the information. (Name, Policy #, Address, Phone, Insurance Info, schedule time, etc) SO CAN YOU REALLY TELL ME THAT THE INSURANCE COMPANY STOLE OUR JOB? OR DID THE SAFELITE EMPIRE?

    SAFELITE SOLUTIONS (Third party administer of auto claims hired by insurance companies)

    SAFELITE AUTO GLASS, (auto glass installation business)

    SERVICE AUTO GLASS (Manufacturer/Supplier of after-market/non-original equipment auto glass)

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