Autobody News - Items filtered by date: September 2011

Following Ray Gunder’s charge alleging altered documents that show State Farm’s manipulation of their market survey of rates and allowances, State Farm has elected to pay the charged amounts of Gunder’s Auto Center and avoid further discovery of its business records. See sidebar.

In seeking discoverable information pertinent to three separate lawsuits by three of Gunder’s customers (of which Gunder was acting on behalf of each customer through power-of-attorney) State Farm’s refusal/failure to provide the requested documentation within the time-frame provided resulted in a court’s order compelling the nation’s largest personal auto insurer to comply and present the subpoenaed records ‘or else.’

As a result, State Farm first made overtures of a global settlement to avoid further litigation (and discovery) by inviting Gunder’s to mediate the more than 30 pending lawsuits pressed against them on behalf of Gunder’s customers for claims including, but not limited to Tortious Interference against State Farm employees including Larry Swearengin and Bob Davis as well as Breach of Contract and Bad Faith claims against State Farm Insurance.

While guarded, Ray Gunder agreed and thus the Contempt of Court hearing scheduled for September 22nd was postponed and mediation was scheduled for October 6th, 2011.

Published in SOUTHEAST NEWS

The 15th Annual GCIA Invitational Golf Tournament was held on Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 at the Trophy Club of Atlanta in Alpharetta, GA.

The GCIA thanked everyone who participated and especially the events sponsors: BASF, DuPont, PPG, Single Source, 3M, Akzo/Nobel, FinishMaster, Sherwin-Williams, LKQ, RBM of Atlanta, Enterprise Staff, and National Coatings & Supplies.

For more information please visit gacollisionindustry.wordpress.com.

Published in SOUTHEAST NEWS

Mississippi voters will have three candidates to choose from in the race for Mississippi Insurance Commissioner come the Nov. 8 general election: Republican incumbent Commissioner Mike Chaney, Democrat Louis Fondren, and Reform Party candidate Barbara Dale Washer, according to gulflive.com.

The position has a four-year term and $90,000 annual salary.

As the incumbent, Chaney’s campaign emphasis has been his achievements during his time in office. According to Chaney, his in-office accolades include; modernization of the department’s records system, streamlining of the agent licensing process, collection of more than $4 million in refunds and additional claims for policyholders, transfer of $99.9 million to state’s windpool to help stabilize rates, an increase of 125 new companies writing policies on the Coast, and a $1 million program that led to grants for homeowners who strengthened their homes against wind damage. Chaney describes his campaign as grassroots.

Chaney, who served in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1993 to 1999, and in the Mississippi State Senate from 2000-2008, was elected as Insurance Commissioner in 2007.

Fondren, a self-employed attorney-at-law and previous public defender of Jackson County from 1977 to 1981, will focus his campaign on being a “friend to policyholders” through stopping rate increases. Part of the way he would do that, he said, is to involve a public actuary—a professional who analyzes the financial consequences of risk—in insurance premium hearings.

Fondren plans to spend the few weeks before the election spreading his message both on the Coast and beyond. At press time Fondren planned to speak at the AARP in Hattiesburg during the last week of October, at the Mississippi Economic Council’s Hobnob Mississippi in Jackson on Nov. 2, and at the Tupelo Chamber on Nov. 4.

Fondren also served in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1972 to 1976 and was Mayor of Moss Point, MS, from 1969 to 1971.

Like Fondren, Chaney also plans to speak at the Mississippi Economic Council’s Hobnob Mississippi.

Washer, a retired teacher from Hattiesburg, will focus on achieving a balance between lowering rates and attracting new business, providing free windshield replacement for auto policyholders, and making sure that insurance companies do not breach contracts, according to the candidate.

For more information please visit www.mid.state.ms.us.

Published in SOUTHEAST NEWS

The Right to Repair Coalition announced on Oct. 19 that it has collected 106,658 voter signatures after just 19 days of effort, well exceeding the 68,911 required for the pro-consumer initiative to appear on the 2012 ballot. A groundswell of support and enthusiasm from Massachusetts consumers has driven this issue forward in what could be record time for a signature gathering effort to reach 100,000-plus.

According to the Right to Repair Coalition, the Right to Repair voter initiative would, for the first time, allow consumers to access all of the non-proprietary repair information required to have their vehicles repaired where they choose, at a new car dealership or an independent shop. The proposed law would level the playing field between the big car manufacturers’ dealerships and independent, neighborhood repair facilities, allowing the latter to finally be able to access the same non-proprietary automobile diagnostic and repair information that is currently only available to the manufacturers’ dealers and their new car dealerships.

“It’s time that car owners have the right to get our vehicles repaired wherever we choose,” said Jeff McLeod of Marshfield, one of the signers of the ballot petition. “The growing support for this issue shows how important it is for consumers, especially in a difficult economy.”

The proposed Right to Repair law would keep vehicle repairs affordable for consumers by ensuring competition among repair facilities. By leveling the playing field and increasing consumer choice, Right to Repair can save families an average of $300-$500 each year, according to an industry study. A recently released AAA Financial Automotive Repair Survey highlighted that many car owners can’t afford to pay for their repairs, thus, often forgoing having them done. This creates a safety hazard for themselves and others on the road. Right to Repair would help alleviate their financial burden by increasing competition and allowing motorists to choose the less expensive repair.

Support for the ballot question continues to grow across the state as more car owners recognize that this law would directly benefit them by making it easier to access repair information electronically, increasing their safety and convenience in obtaining affordable repairs.

In addition to the rapid signature gathering, the Right to Repair coalition’s Facebook page continues to grow daily and now has over 10,000 supporters.

The Right to Repair Coalition includes consumer advocates like AAA and more than 2,000 independent repair shops, small businesses and retailers in communities across Massachusetts.

Published in NATIONAL NEWS

With over 100 girls registered and nearly that number in attendance, Collision Hub’s second annual Girl Scouts: Tools for Success program was a huge success. For the event, the Girl Scouts of Citrus Council in Orlando came to the NACE show floor for an hour of conversations with leaders in the industry about the incredible opportunities available to young women in the collision repair.

The girls learned about frame equipment and measurement systems with Bob Holland of Chief, the history of DuPont with Petra Schroeder, the chemistry of paint and color with Laura Yerkey of ProSpray, advanced software and new technologies from CCC’s Susanna Gotsch, scholarship opportunities with the Women’s Industry Network, and more.

Following the NACE Tools for Success tour, Collision Hub hosted a Women’s Panel sponsored by LKQ and moderated by Eileen Sottile, which featured:
● Kristen Felder—Founder and CEO, Collision Hub
● Denise Casperson— Manager, ASA Collision Division
● Audra Fordin—Owner, Great Bear Auto Repair and Auto Body Shop, Flushing, NY
● Stacee L. Royce—Laboratory Manager, Paint Applications and Masking Systems, 3M
Automotive Aftermarket Div.
● Petra Schroeder—Brand Development Manager Standox, Dupont Performance Coatings
● Victoria Jankowski—P&C Claims Consultant, State Farm and President of WIN

Published in NACE