GEICO claims ‘zero tolerance for fraud,’ files lawsuit against Tampa auto glass firm

pre-insurance fraud inspection (Large)
In the most insidious claims, these agents are reported to sometimes forge signatures approving work, even when none is performed.

A Tampa company has some explaining to do after being hit with a lawsuit filed by attorneys for GEICO Insurance Company and subsidiaries.

Defendants, Shazam Auto Glass LLC, and its owner, Sean Martineau, have been accused of allegedly defrauding GEICO to the tune of $340,000. The lawsuit claims Martineau’s auto glass operation is a shell company that charges GEICO for unperformed work.

The lawsuit also claims that Shazam contractors use incentives to encourage customers to replace their windshields and sometimes ask customers to increase their insurance coverage for free windshield replacement.

According to key allegations in the case, Shazam’s workforce is driven by contractors who pitch the company, on foot, going door-to-door or approaching potential customers in parking lots. Reportedly, these agents sometimes promote cost-free windshield replacement to people with comprehensive insurance coverage, and offer incentives, like gift cards, to people who agree.

In the most insidious claims, these agents are reported to forge signatures sometimes approving work, even when none is performed, and then allegedly bill it to GEICO, according to the lawsuit.

Outside of contractor relationships, the plaintiffs claim the defendant has no employees, no inventory, and no installation equipment.

If these claims are valid, Shazam isn’t the only company that works in this way. The lawsuit suggests that this filing is another set of shots fired in a “quiet war between insurers and windshield firms” that results in thousands of lawsuits being filed against fraudulent shell companies each year.

In a news release, GEICO said this lawsuit is the latest in a string of filings that stems from their “zero tolerance” approach to fraud. The previous cases were filed against Arizona defendants, and this is the first to hit a Tampa business since GEICO’s recent push to identify fraud.

Tara Carthew, Assistant Vice President of Claims in GEICO’s Lakeland office, said in a statement, “GEICO is committed to protecting our customers from the negative effect that insurance fraud has on premiums. These incidents of fraud hurt consumers in Florida because they cause premiums to increase, and we continue to pursue them with zero tolerance.”

It remains to be seen the outcome of the lawsuit, but consumers should stay conscientious of how they approach vehicle repairs, ensuring they work with reputable vendors.

Melissa S. Razdrih

Melissa S. Razdrih is a Tampa correspondent for Florida Politics. Razdrih graduated with a Bachelor's degree from the University of Tampa in 2006 and went on to earn a Master's degree before switching gears to write professionally. Since then, Razdrih has been published in national blogs, like PopSugar, and local publications, like Tampa Bay Business and Wealth, on everything from self-care to cryptocurrency, but politics is her passion. Contact her at [email protected].


5 comments

  • Jim Donelon

    June 16, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    Almost every time I go to Sam’s Club for gas I am approached by folks wanting to “repair/replace” my windshield.

  • Ajax

    June 17, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    F Geico they have no problems trying to scam there customers when they are in an accident. My accident we were both Geico customers and the police report said other driver was at fault, but Geico wanted me to agree to mutual fault if I want my car repaired quickly. When I said no they told me it would be months to get repaired since I did not agree to mutual fault. So I don’t care if they get taken.

    • SIU GUY

      June 18, 2019 at 7:29 am

      Absolutely and completely untrue. Provide proof. You cannot.

      • cavin

        June 18, 2019 at 8:03 am

        Don’t make that bet. While evidence may not be proof, there is enough to go around. Otherwise sue.

  • David Newell

    June 18, 2019 at 10:33 am

    They should go after Phoenix glass shops too, everywhere you look signs and adds say we will pay you 500 dollars to replace your windshield. The new cars are expensive due to camera calibration. My 2013 Prius doesn’t have them and last week I had it replaced and paid cash to a glass shop $100 out the door installed and didn’t need to get my insurance company ripped off.

Comments are closed.


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