Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin
Gov. Rick Snyder has approved Michigan to join California, Florida and Nevada in allowing self-driving vehicle research on the state’s streets and highways. Snyder has signed legislation allowing the testing of automated or self-driving vehicles on Michigan’s roads, but that doesn’t mean state residents will see cars with empty drivers’ seats anytime soon.
The laws, approved by the state Legislature, allow carmakers, auto suppliers and developers like Google to test automated vehicles. But they they require a human to be in the driver’s seat at all times to monitor performance and take control if necessary.
At least one auto supplier— Continental Corp—which has facilities in Auburn Hills and the Sault Ste. Marie area, had considered moving some autonomous vehicle testing to Nevada, according to state Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, who introduced the legislation in the state Senate. Nevada has permitted testing of autonomous cars on state roads since 2012. California and Florida also allow testing.
Test cars will carry an “M” license plate to identify them.
In December 2013, State Farm experienced a dramatic reduction in the number of shops participating in Select Service (their direct repair program) in the Fort Wayne, IN, area due to the implementation of PartsTrader. Of the 22 local shops participating in the DRP, 14 (over 60%) opted out of the program, though some of these shops had been on the program for decades. Several shop owners and managers were willing to discuss their reasons for being removed from the Select Service.
Todd Bonecutter, General Manager at Glenbrook Collision at 100 W. Coliseum Blvd in Ft. Wayne, said he opposes PartsTrader as a mandated tool. “We don’t like being told where we can buy our parts or being prevented from buying parts from our usual vendors. This is just a stepping stone for the insurers to dictate other things in the collision industry. They starts with parts, but it’s only a matter of time before they move on to paints and other materials.”
A Rhinelander, WI, body shop owner will spend the next 10 years in prison and have to repay over $1.3 million for defrauding insurance companies.
43 year old John (Jack) Henricks III was sentenced Jan. 14 in federal court for using the U.S. Mail to defraud insurance companies. Federal Judge Barbara Crabb pronounced sentence after Henricks plead guilty to the charges last August.
Prosecutors say Henricks used his prior business, Custom Collision, to defraud 19 auto insurance companies. Henricks would stage auto accidents and send in false work orders in order to collect insurance on the vehicles. Assistant US Attorney Tim O'Shea says Oneida County officials did the bulk of the work. "They recognized that this was an important case, they recognized that it was important to do the hard work to hold Mr. Henricks accountable, and the credit in this 10 year sentence goes to the Oneida County sheriff's department.
A 25-year-old Racine, WI, man was arrested minutes after grabbing two bank bags full of cash from a nearby auto parts store, police said. The man walked into Gordon Auto Parts, 1401 King Drive, and inquired about some merchandise. The man shoved the owner, grabbed the bags and fled. Minutes later a man matching the robber's description was taken into custody. The store owner suffered minor injuries, and police recovered the bank bags and cash. Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to call the Racine Police (262) 635-7756, or Racine Crimestoppers, (262) 636-9330.
One of Illinois’ best auto body repair education programs soon will get even better, after Waubonsee Community College’s program became one of four nationwide to secure a $50,000 grant from the Collision Repair Education Foundation.
Undocumented immigrants in Illinois have begun taking road tests to qualify for driver’s licenses, starting a process expected to be closely watched by other U.S. states that are preparing to implement similar laws.
A bill in the Ohio Senate that would require providers of auto mechanical repairs to register with the state, just as collision repair shops must do now, could improve public perceptions of the business and root out participants that don’t belong, its supporters say.
Mayco International LLC, a designer and manufacturer of auto parts, plans to spend $2.9 million to renovate and expand operations at its plant in Hartford City, IN, creating 120 jobs by 2016.
The upgrades to the 110,000-square-foot facility will allow the Sterling Heights, MI-based company to fulfill increased client orders for sunshades and other automotive parts for interior trim, the company said Thursday. New equipment for the plant should be installed and operational by February.
The facility currently employs 18 workers, which have focused on interior car elements such as floor panels and arm rests, plant manager Dan Stiehl. Employment at the facility in recent years has vacillated from as much as 50 to 100 workers, depending on the requirements of contracts from clients.
The plant in Hartford City, which is located about 80 miles northeast of Indianapolis, already has begun hiring production operators and maintenance associates for its expanded operations, Stiehl said.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered Mayco up to $880,000 in tax credits and $80,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. The tax credits are performance-based, meaning they cannot be claimed until jobs are filled.
Mayco is a supplier of car parts with more than 6,000 employees in 47 plants across the U.S., China, India, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and Australia.
A 25-year-old Racine, WI, man was arrested minutes after grabbing two bank bags full of cash from a nearby auto parts store, police said. The man walked into Gordon Auto Parts, 1401 King Drive, shortly after 8 a.m. and inquired about some merchandise, according to the Racine Police Department.
The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that a class-action lawsuit alleging that an insurance company did not disclose the option to replace damaged windshields to its policyholders does not meet the legal requirements for a class action. The high court issued its 26-page ruling in Cullen v. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Co. on Nov. 5.
An insurance company accused of refusing to cover a customer’s collision claim is seeking to dismiss a St. Clair County, IL, lawsuit.
According to the complaint filed Sept. 17, plaintiff Paula J. Beland claims she was involved in a chain traffic collision on Sept. 17, 2011. A driver hit the car behind Beland, which then allegedly hit her car.
Beland had insurance through defendant Automobile Club Inter-Insurance Exchange at the time of the collision, the suit states. She filed a claim with the insurance company, seeking money for her damages as a result of the collision. However, the insurance company refused to settle Beland’s underinsured motorist claim, the complaint alleges.
The defendant filed its motion to dismiss on Oct. 18 through attorneys Michael Reda and Daniel C. Lytle of Hepler Broom in Edwardsville claiming the plaintiff failed to state a cause of action.
“In this case, plaintiff’s complaint fails to separate causes of action for breach of contract and recovery pursuant to the Illinois Insurance Code,” the motion states.
The defendant filed for a substitution of judge on Oct. 29, which Chief Judge John Baricivic granted. Circuit Judge Robert LeChien was previously assigned to the case. A new judge has not yet been assigned.
The plaintiff seeks a judgment of more than $35,000, costs, fees and an additional $25,000.
Beland is represented by B. Jay Dowling of the Law Offices of Sterling and Dowling in Fairview Heights.
Michigan officials and law enforcement authorities say they’re cracking down on fraudulent auto insurers and Michigan drivers who purchase their policies.
But consumer advocates say the new initiative, announced by Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, fails to address the underlying problem: exorbitant car insurance premiums caused by Michigan’s mandatory no-fault system that requires drivers to purchase basic coverage that includes unlimited medical benefits. Lawmakers are expected to debate this fall on whether to reform the system and make it more affordable.
Baker’s Collision Repair Specialists Inc., a collision repair facility located in Mansfield, Ohio, will host an Open House to celebrate "60 Years in Business" on Saturday, Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Baker’s has been in operation by family members since it was founded by Mervin and Esther Baker in the fall of 1953. Starting out in a two-car garage on Snyder Street in Mansfield, it has now expanded to its current 40-stall facility that has been located on 5th Avenue since 1956.
"The Baker and Powell families and all of the staff extend an invitation to the public to attend and join in the celebration," said a company spokesperson. "This day is to honor all of our generations of customers that have made it possible for us to continue to be of service to them."
Complimentary hot dogs and bratwurst, chips and soft drinks will be served to attendees. There will be facility tours, displays of community projects and door prize giveaways, including an iPad as a grand prize. In addition, Baker's has partnered with Sherwin-Williams to showcase the No. 16 Greg Biffle Stock Car at the shop.