Ten years ago, former Cumberland, RI auto body shop owner David F. Miller was wrongly accused of insurance fraud, and after being handcuffed and arrested in front of customers and his children, and losing his license, business and home, all charges against him were later dropped. In an ensuing six-year legal battle to clear his name, Miller finally found justice on May 29 when a Superior Court jury in Providence, RI returned a verdict against two of the country’s largest automobile insurance providers, finding that Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company (Met Life) and AMICA Mutual Insurance had acted with “malice” and “bad faith.” In finding Met Life and AMICA liable for abuse of legal process, the jury awarded Miller $3.27 million, which includes interest, compensatory damages, emotional distress, legal fees and punitive damages.
Miller is now 60 years old and battling a rare form of cancer.
Many body shop owners who have already embraced social media are reluctant to use YouTube to promote their businesses. They feel likes it’s too expensive to produce videos and many claim they don’t have anything to say to their customers. But, once they try it, body shops are reporting positive results via YouTube, with increased traffic to their websites, blogs and other social media sites. They’re tracking new customers from their YouTube videos and discovering the value in these short, informational clips—ranging in subjects from “How to Spray Waterborne” to “Online Estimates” and all the way to things such as humorous TV commercials and interviews with customers, painters, body men and even front desk people.
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee vetoed a bill that would have allowed auto body shops to sue insurers, citing the bill would have sent car insurance rates soaring in Rhode Island.
The legislation called for setting standards for declaring a vehicle a total loss if the cost to repair the vehicle is less than 75 percent of the value of the vehicle; require an insurer to negotiate payment for auto body repairs in good faith; and allow private rights of action by auto body shops against insurance companies.
The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida announced recently that 11 defendants were charged due to their roles in a staged accident ring. So far, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged 26 defendants in less than 12 months for their involvement.
The Florida Supreme Court on July 5 sided with an appellate court and struck down a 2008 law that barred public insurance adjusters from soliciting business right after a disaster.
The law was enacted to prevent public adjusters, hired by policyholders to represent them during the claims process, from contacting people when they’re in shock and haven’t had a chance to resolve a claim with their insurer.
A new law went into effect July 1 to assist Florida’s fight against suspicious claims and insurance fraud problems with the personal injury protection (PIP) law.
One of the biggest supporters of this law was Florida’s CFO, Jeff Atwater, who is concerned with the many relationships between pain clinics and attorneys when it comes to insurance benefits.
The new law brings some major changes to Personal Injury Protection.
A 2008 Florida law establishing a 48-hour moratorium on public adjusters was ruled unconstitutional July 5 by the Florida Supreme Court on grounds that it restricted commercial speech.
The Florida Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional a state law banning public insurance adjusters from soliciting policyholders during the first 48 hours after a damaging event.
Alan and Kathleen Van Nimwegen, owners of Seminole Paint and Auto Body Shop in Sanford, FL, went missing when their private plane crashed in severe weather during a flight from the Bahamas the morning of July 16. They were the only people on board.
The U.S. Coast Guard has now called off the search to locate the Nimwegens after their Beechcraft Bonanza BE 36 crashed shortly after take off about 9:20 AM on a return trip from Bahamas to Daytona Beach. The Coast Guard responded quickly, deploying a helicopter that found a massive debris field, oil slick and empty life raft around five miles off Great Harbour Cay. USCG Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios said that searchers concentrated on the area off Great Harbour Cay, near the Berry Islands, after a Coast Guard C130 airplane spotted a debris field. The Coast Guard cutter Dolphin also responded to the scene.
Last month in Autobody News, we ran a story about two schools in Arizona and California that are prepping for the future in the industry. That article focused on two schools, The East Valley Institute of Technology in Mesa, AZ, and the Universal Technical Institute in Sacramento, CA.
This month, we highlight other educational programs in the West — Arizona, Nevada and California — that are providing outstanding preparation for careers in the collision repair industry.
Hundreds of automotive students gathered in Kansas City, MO for a showdown for gold. Armed with their tool boxes and spray guns, they represented the top collision repair and automotive refinishing students from around the country.
SkillsUSA returned to Kansas City on June 23-27, 2012 for its 48th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference, a showcase of career and technical education students. Quality career and technical education was the centerpiece of the conference. More than 15,000 students, teachers, education leaders, and representatives from more than 1,100 national corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions participated in the event with 94 hands-on skill and leadership competitions. SkillsUSA organizes this event, and it is considered the single greatest day of industry volunteerism in America every year at an estimated cost of more than $35 million. Each SkillsUSA Championships contestant is a state-level gold medalist.
When the dust cleared, four students claimed the gold medals, taking home the country’s top honors in their competitions, along with scholarships, prize money and new tools.