COLUMBUS, OH, April 30--The Independent Glass Association (IGA) opened its annual convention in Columbus, OH, with sessions about steering, its new direction and a discussion of new pricing models.
The theme of the convention, Getting to the Heart of It All, also served as a subtle nod toward the location of the conventionin the heart of the headquarters city of behemoth network installation company Safelite Glass Corporation. The theme was also the title of the first session this morning, presented by Carl Tompkins of Sika Corporation, who spoke about the dangers of downsizing and a number of other topics.
Tompkins was followed
by noted short pay attorney Charles (Chuck) Lloyd of the Minnesota
law firm Livgard and Rabuse. Lloyd began with a review of strategies to
avoid being the victim of short payments from the insurance industry.
Lloyd reminded the group of the following strategies to avoid short pays,
Lloyd talked about the legal theories behind lawsuits against networks, insurers and third party administrators. Lloyd said short payments of invoices are actually breaches of contracts and/or the insurance policy itself. It all goes back to what the original insurance policy was.
Consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices were also discussed as points of law involved in short pays and steering. Lloyd defined consumer fraud as cases in which the insurer sells one thing, but delivers something else and said it is especially useful in steering situations. Deceptive trade practicecases in which the insurer does things that it knows is wrong, usually on a repeated basis-- is used more in short pay situations.
How to Keep Your Jobs
To Fight the Steer:
Warranty issues are also important. The attorney reminded the group that networks with other glass shops throughout the country have a plan for national warranty coverage and that having something in effect is helpful.
Lloyd also advised
the group to make sure they the AGRSS standards for installation, and
to become certified if certification is important to you.
Try to always be on the phone when the claim is reported, he said. Tell the customer that the TPA or whoever is going to try and get you off the call, but that you want to stay. Educate the customer that the competitor may not want you on the phone. The claims administrators dont want you on the phone.
Make sure the customer has your companys name, your name and phone number. They called my customer or they just showed up and did the job, werent they you?
Lloyd also detailed
what to do when you do lose a job, and offer the following tips:
Lloyd says consumer protective and deceptive trade practices laws may also be used, and that there are also common law claims, including tortuous interference, antitrust law, disparagement (the commercial version of defamation), and RICO have all been used. RICO is also being used by doctors in Florida against third party claims administrators, but in general, the courts dont like RICO because its been overused.
Market size and identity are critical issues in antitrust cases. How you define a particular market is a big issue, he said, and the issue becomes Who monopolizes that market? Nobody. In antitrust the game is won or lost in the definition of the market, he added.
Lloyd also addressed an issue he felt is a real hindurance to such litigation. Weve got this other little problem-the dirty little secretcash pricing. Its a really big problem in an antitrust case. How can you say our prices are too low, when the market offers those prices themselves?
He also talked about how many glass shops are closing down. Next year you ought to have a montage of people that are no longer in this business, like they do at the academy awards. It would be very sad. Lets try and make that list really short next year.
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