Columbus Business First: Safelite buys Boston-based auto glass operation

By Tristan Navera

Safelite Group has acquired a company that will strengthen its national footprint.

The Columbus company closed on a deal this week to acquire TruRoad Holdings Inc., which is based in Woburn, Massachusetts, near Boston. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The seller was Dallas-based private equity firm CenterOak Partners LLC.

TruRoad provides on-demand auto glass, driver assistance systems calibration and claims services.

A third-generation family company, TruRoad has over 500 employees, according to its Linkedin page. It will be integrated into Safelite's Belron parent company, which has a similar business across a 39-country footprint. In particular, this expansion will increase Safelite's position in New England.

"Our 'people powered, customer driven' strategy aligns with TruRoad's 'schedule easily, service locally' business philosophy," Tom Feeney, Safelite Group CEO, said in a statement.

TruRoad was formed last year by the combination of Bowrail Group and Techna Glass Inc. and serves consumers, insurance carriers and fleets in a 17-state footprint. Its subsidiaries include JN Phillips Auto Glass, TechnaGlass, Harmon AutoGlass and Windshield Centers.

"I am so grateful for the mighty contributions of every TruRoad team member, and for their hard work in making us a leading provider of auto glass services across the U.S.," Bob Rosenfield, CEO of TruRoad Holdings, Inc., said in the statement. "I look forward to this next phase for the business and for our exceptional team members under Safelite and Belron’s visionary leadership.”

TruRoad also owns StategicClaim, a claims software and incident management services platform used by many auto and property insurance companies, and uses both call centers and self-service tools to help customers file and resold claims easily and quickly with insurers. Safelite says this tool will enhance its own claims tools, as well.

CenterOak says it serves 400,000 customers a year and has 95 corporate and franchise locations, 300 mobile service units, three call centers two technology and claims centers, and an affiliate network with 5,000 independent auto glass shops.

“The company has grown organically and through acquisitions while investing in new technology, key talent and support, training and recruiting technicians, and undergoing a large-scale integration effort," Randall Fojtasek, managing partner of CenterOak Partners, said in a separate statement. "The management team’s talent and execution allowed the company to capitalize on these growth opportunities while maintaining their commitment to a differentiated customer service experience.”

Next comes the employee integration, Feeney said. Safelite already has 15,000 employees nationwide and serves about 10 million customers a year with its vehicle glass repair and replacement business, as well as insurance claims management and wholesale vehicle glass distribution.

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