Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced the appointment of Eleanor Kitzman of Austin as Texas Insurance Commissioner, effective Aug. 15, 2011, for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2013, according to Insurance Journal.
Kitzman will replace Mike Geeslin, who announced earlier this year that he was not interested in serving another term as commissioner.
Kitzman is the outgoing executive director of the South Carolina Budget and Control Board, and is past director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance.
She is also a former clerk for the Texas Supreme Court, and a past associate at Akin, Gump, Strauss and Feld. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas and South Carolina Bar Association.
“I’m confident that Eleanor’s expertise in the insurance industry will make her a strong advocate for insurance customers in Texas, and I appreciate her willingness to serve the state in this capacity,” Gov. Perry said. “I’m thankful for Mike Geeslin’s service as insurance commissioner over the past several years, where he worked to protect Texans by ensuring that insurance is available and provided at fair rates, and look forward to continuing this strong leadership at TDI with Eleanor’s appointment.”
The American Insurance Association also congratulated in Kitzman on her nomination as commissioner.
“Ms. Kitzman’s significant insurance background makes her well-qualified to be the next commissioner of the Texas Department of Insurance,” said Fred C. Bosse, AIA Southwest region vice president. “Texas is a large state with diverse insurance needs. Her tenure as South Carolina’s insurance commissioner coupled with her efforts to reform that state’s auto and coastal insurance systems uniquely position her to run TDI.”
Prior to her appointment by Gov. Nikki Haley to run the South Carolina Budget and Control Board, Kitzman was employed by Goldman Sachs. She served as the director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance from 2005 to 2007.
Kitzman is a graduate of the University of Houston and earned her law degree from the South Texas College of Law.
ABRA Auto Body & Glass, a Minnesota-based damaged vehicle repair company, announced July 13 the opening of a new repair center in Olive Branch, Mississippi. The facility, located at 7532 Craft-Goodman Frontage Road, will increase the total number of ABRA repair centers to 107 in 12 states.
Tim Adelmann, ABRA’s Executive Vice President of Business Development says, “ABRA built this repair center to meet the growing needs of vehicle owners and our insurance partners in the community of Olive Branch. ABRA’s long-term plan is to make it convenient for consumers to find a state-of-the-art ABRA repair center no matter where they happen to live or work.”
The repair center will eventually staff more than 20 new employees and is equipped with all the latest technology to maintain high standards and assure top quality repairs.
The repair center is one of ABRA’s newest prototype models consisting of more than 13,000 square feet and offers collision repair along with glass repair and replacement services with free mobile service to home or work.
Continuing its expansion, America’s Car-Mart broadened its buy-here, pay-here dealership footprint in Alabama. The newest rooftop is located in Albertville, AL, raising Car-Mart’s total in the state to nine.
Car-Mart now has 108 dealerships spread through Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.
“Car-Mart has tremendous growth opportunities especially in states like Alabama. Albertville is our ninth location in Alabama, a state that has potential much like our home state of Arkansas, where we have 37 dealerships,” explained William “Hank” Henderson, president and chief executive officer of Car-Mart.
Henderson added the Albertville dealership will be managed by Brad Martin, “who is very excited to lead our efforts at this great new Car-Mart location.”
Elaborating more on the company’s future, chief financial officer Jeff Williams reiterated Car-Mart anticipates opening new lots at an approximate 10-percent annual rate.
The Florida Auto Collision Alliance (FACA) held its first-ever statewide convention and industry exposition May 19 to 21 at the Villas of Grand Cypress in Orlando, FL.
Vendors, technicians, managers and owners of repair centers across the state came together to examine best practices, new products,and efficient alternatives to conventional shop-management and supplychain systems.
The Florida Collision Repair Summit was held in conjunction with the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS)’s Improving Workshop Efficiency seminar. The co-sponsored program focused on the implementation of “lean” production practices designed to eliminate wasteful processes in body shop management.
The event drew in approximately 30 attendees in the classes, and 26 vendors set-up on the expo floor for the weekend, according to Cathy Mills, FACA’s executive director.
“The Summit was an excellent opportunity to network with peers, learn new skills, share expertise, and explore emerging products and services in the collision repair industry,” said Mills.
The Collision Repair Education Foundation will be presenting Lake Technical Center of Eustis, FL with a “Mini-Makeover” during the International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) Thursday, October 6th in Orlando, FL.
Lake Technical Center was the only school in Florida that applied for the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s 2010 $50,000 Ultimate Collision Education Makeover grant. Due to the school’s proximity to NACE in Orlando, the Education Foundation has been gathering industry supporters/donors to fulfill portions of the school’s $50,000 wish list that they provided as part of the grant application. School instructors, administration and their collision students will be on hand during a presentation at NACE to showcase how the Mini-Makeover donors have benefited the school’s collision program.
The presentation will take place from 1 p.m.-2 p.m. in the ASRW Media Center located inside the Orange County Convention Center’s West Building.
Scott Kruger, Executive Director of the Collision Repair Education Foundation, said, “Lake Technical Center was one of 52 schools nationwide that applied for the Foundation’s 2010 Ultimate Collision Education Makeover grant and the only school in the state of Florida to apply. As industry professionals from across the country will be gathering in Orlando for NACE this fall, we thought it would be a great opportunity to not only highlight the Makeover grant program, but also help this local school through the support of our donors and supporters. We invite industry professionals attending NACE and ASRW to attend the presentation to hear how Lake Technical Center’s collision program has benefited through the support of industry donations and to learn how to get involved with helping schools in your local area.”
I-CAR, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair announced August 9 that James Roach of American Honda Motor Company has joined the I-CAR International Board of Directors as a Board Member.
James Roach has been part of the collision inter-industry for over thirty years and has been employed by American Honda Motor Company since 1978. Currently, Mr. Roach is Senior Vice President – Parts and Service Division of American Honda Motor Company. He manages a workforce exceeding 2,000 employees which are geographically placed throughout 18 locations in the United States. Mr. Roach oversees the areas of automobile customer service, parts and accessories marketing, service marketing, parts inventory procurement and distribution, technical operations, and the improvement of Lifetime Owner Loyalty and CSI for both Honda and Acura automobile customers. He is also responsible for the distribution of service parts and accessories for motorcycle, power equipment, and marine products.
The Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA) released on August 16 a new video illustrating the safety and quality of aftermarket auto parts. The video, which is available HERE, showcases actual high- and low-speed crash tests. The video's conclusions are based upon the crash tests as well as lump mass modeling simulations and quasi-static crush tests designed by engineers with extensive experience in automotive safety systems.
Side-by-side video taken during a high-speed crash test illustrates the simultaneous airbag deployment (down to the millisecond) for two 2006 Toyota Corollas, one outfitted with an aftermarket bumper reinforcement bar and the other a car company equivalent. This evidence undercuts with facts the false assertion by some car companies that airbag timing is affected by using comparable aftermarket components.
The high-speed crash data also shows the aftermarket- and the car company-equipped cars both delivering occupant safety well within the federal safety standards, with the car outfitted with non-branded car company parts actually delivering slightly better occupant protection as measured across 11 key injury criteria.
Chief Automotive Technologies recently opened its doors to the press to show off its new Chief Research and Specification Center in Irvine, CA.
To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.
Brent Johnson, Chief Global Specifications Manager, explained that the new 3,500 sq. ft. facility is used to measure every new passenger vehicle sold in the U.S. It is the newest of Chief’s four specification centers around the world. The others are in the Netherlands, Malaysia and China. This global commitment ensures that Chief can efficiently measure every vehicle produced in Europe, China and the Pacific Rim. Chief’s U.S. specification center was previously located in Omaha, NE. Prior to that, it was in Torrance, CA.
According to Johnson, Chief started measuring every new vehicle in 1993, but the company provides data on some models going back as far as the 1970s. Chief uses OEM measurement data as often as possible, but they still verify that data by measuring every car independently.
Johnson explained that it takes approximately 12-14 hours, or two days, to fully measure each new vehicle. Chief measures between 130 -140 new vehicles in its U.S. Specification Center every year. Another 300 vehicles are measured by the other three Chief spec centers around the world.
Although used car dealers and insurance companies are the types of corporations that seemingly benefit the most from the salvage auction industry, auto body shops are a less obvious, but equal beneficiary. If properly utilized, salvage auctions can help auto body shops to supplement their existing business by increasing their repair volumes and facilitating access to parts.
To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.
Fixing the Fixed Costs
Auto body shop owners have much of the same fixed-business costs as any other operation. The cost of land or rent, utilities, payroll and upkeep all add to an auto body shop’s overhead. That means that whether a shop repairs 10 cars or 50, the basic fixed cost of doing business will generally be the same.
By utilizing salvage auctions, auto body shops have the opportunity to better utilize their fixed-cost base. One way to use the auctions is to buy repairable cars to fill in work slots. A lot of the cars that are written off as a total loss are actually repairable. Auto body shops can buy these damaged cars through a salvage auction, then repair and resell them for an added revenue stream. Or, if a shop needs multiple parts from a car, it can buy the car, strip it of the parts it needs, and then resell the remainder of the car.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau on August 16 released its own list of the 10 most stolen vehicles in the United States.
And for the first time since 2002, NICB discovered thieves preferred domestic nameplates over foreign brands.
Among the top 10, Ford took three spots, Dodge held two and Chevrolet held one, while the remaining four were held by Honda, Toyota and Acura.
However, the top three positions continue to be held by Honda and Toyota models, a trend that NICB said has been consistent since 2000.
According to an examination of vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center in 2010, the most stolen vehicles in the nation were: