IGA Members Briefed on How to Deal with New Fees

The Independent Glass Association (IGA), in the latest Beacon Bulleting, has offered the following to its members regarding paper processing fees:

(source: IGA Beacon Bulletin)

Last week, we sent out a Beacon Bulletin, which discussed how non-network shops could deal with Safelite's new $15 fee for processing paper invoices. By offering this advice, we are not recommending what you should do because we don't know. It depends upon your business, how you're set up, and what you want to accomplish.

In general, if you do not have a prior agreement whereby you agree to Safelite's new fees, you are not under any obligation to allow them to deduct these fees. However, unless you object to the fee in writing, you may be faced with the legal argument in your State or in Safelite's that you agreed to the fee by submitting your invoice, knowing in advance that the fee would be charged - they warned you, you went ahead anyway.

In our last Beacon, we suggested that one way to avoid the $15 fee was to either use EDI or Safelite's web access to process claims. We made that suggestion because some of our members are on Safelite's network. Also, some shops may find that electronic submission (EDI or web) saves them time and money, depending on how they manage their businesses.

Of course, EDI and web processing of claims helps Safelite. It keeps their costs down. By giving in to their demand that you use EDI, you give them exactly what they want, i.e., lower overhead. The question you should ask, however, is does such electronic processing help you.

For most of our members, in order to use Safelite's web access, you need to re-enter the work order. Essentially, they are using you to do their data entry. The IGA has suggested to Safelite that Safelite could offer a small discount or other inducement to a shop owner who is willing to submit an invoice electronically (thereby saving Safelite the administrative cost of inputting the information.) Safelite has chosen the other route -- to charge shops if they don't submit electronically.

The additional point we wish to make in this Beacon is this: If you are going to object to this fee in writing, then you may be given more consideration if you also object to the insurance companies as well. The insurance companies can stop the practice if they want to.

Safelite strongly values its relationship with the insurance industry. Some of our members believe Safelite will attempt to steer every job that goes through their network. Some members tell us they have achieved great success by working directly with the insurance companies on this fee and on steering, rejected invoices, short pays, and slow pays, as well. Only time will tell whether the insurance companies will demand that Safelite stop charging this fee.

If you are a member and are going to register your concerns with various insurers, you can contact us for our most current information about the appropriate executives to contact. (We doubt that the claims adjusters or regional claims managers have any authority over Safelite's practices.) In the past, insurance companies have actively sought to learn of improper steering incidents, overdue invoices, short-pays, rejected invoices and the like. So, calling or writing the insurance companies with your concerns and actual facts about the paper invoice processing fee and other matters of concern to you may not be unwelcome

For those who are outraged about the fee, we know you think your organization should do more than offer these tips. If you are one of these, ask yourself if you have contributed to the litigation fund recently. We are your organization and we need your support to make a difference.

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