LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The owner of a local auto glass company responded today to a WAVE 3 Troubleshooter hidden camera investigation.
Troubleshooter Eric Flack went undercover and caught a salesman from DNS Auto Glass's Louisville office trying to bill the insurance company for a windshield that didn't need to be replaced. State investigators said the video is indicative of windshield insurance fraud: a growing crime in Kentucky.
Now DNS owner Jeff Searles is answering questions about what the Troubleshooter uncovered.
The chip is about the size of a pencil head in the windshield of the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter undercover vehicle. But a salesman from DNS Auto Glass in Louisville wanted to use it to file a claim with the insurance company.
Tuesday, Searles told Troubleshooter Eric Flack by phone he's launched his own investigation into what happened on hidden camera.
"I don't condone replacing windshields that don't need it," Searles said.
Troubleshooter Eric Flack followed salesman Brandon Carter from the address listed to DNS with the Kentucky Secretary of State.
After finding the tiny windshield chip, Carter said on hidden camera he could get us a free, new windshield because in Kentucky, drivers with full comprehensive coverage can't be charged a deductible.
But Jim Larson, an auto glass expert who inspects suspected fraud for insurance companies, said our windshield was in perfectly good condition. Larson said the only reason a salesman would want to file an insurance claim to replace it is "probably just to generate a dollar."
Larson said insurance companies are losing millions of dollars a year to windshield insurance fraud. One former DNS employee, who asked to remain anonymous, said he watched DNS salesman file hundreds of suspect insurance claims over an 8 month period.
"The only thing that is wrong with the windshield," pointing to one windshield he replaced, "is that some salesman told the customer it's bad."
Searles said if installers show up at replacements for windshields that are not damaged, they are supposed to refuse to do the job and call the office immediately. Searles said he has launched an internal investigation into the former installers allegations and Carter's actions on undercover video.
Searles said DNS has policies in place that prohibit their employees from filing false claims.
"I am absolutely appalled by any employee that does anything that is against the law or against our guidelines and principals" he said. "I support any prosecution to the fullest extent of the law."
The Kentucky Department of Insurance Fraud Division Director Clark Williams said his office has a half dozen open investigations into windshield insurance fraud, but wouldn't say if they involve DNS.
After viewing our repot, Department of Insurance spokeswoman Rhonda Sloan said in an email, "we are going to consider the information from your report as a referral and it is undergoing analysis by our fraud staff."
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