SOUTHEAST NEWS (287)
Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi
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In April, 35 collision repair and automotive refinishing students competed in the annual Alabama SkillsUSA contest. The first day of the competition was held at Bevill State Community College in Sumiton, AL, with day two at BJCC Convention Center in Birmingham, AL.
In all, 35 contestants from 14 schools (12 secondary schools and two post-secondary schools) competed for the coveted top placements. Of those students, 18 competed in automotive refinishing technology and 17 competed in collision repair.
Angela Wray, 36, a former bookkeeper for Celico Auto Body in Bunnell, FL, was recently sentenced to three years in prison and Circuit Judge J. David Walsh told her she was responsible for paying back $58,964 she stole from Celico Auto Body.
The owner of the business, Carlos Celico, had noticed his business was low on cash flow but he originally chalked it up to the poor economy, he said.
Wray’s body went limp after the verdict was read and two bailiffs caught her before she fell to the floor.
“I do not find this to be a ridiculous or a silly charge,” said Walsh. “It’s a very serious charge.”
The Georgia Collision Industry Association (GCIA) recently completed their 7th Annual Labor & Materials Rate Survey for Metro Atlanta and Georgia. The Survey was conducted by CSi Complete to ensure unbiased data collection. CSi Complete is a provider of customer satisfaction indexing to collision repair, insurance companies and other service industries and you can learn more information about the company by visiting their website at www.csicomplete .com.
GCIA’s goal in conducting this annual survey and sharing the results is twofold:
In Delray Beach, FL, Eddie Quintela, 42, owner and operator of Collision Concepts, recently spent $10,450 on filing fees for 53 separate lawsuits against insurers for short pays. Quintela says he’s not worried about the money. He will recoup court costs and attorney’s fees when he wins his cases, plus recover the compensation he should have received in the first place for properly repairing the vehicles. To date, he and his customers have won every single case they’ve filed against insurers.
According to Quintela, his plan to get insurers to pay for underpayments is pretty simple and easy to do.
“If we cannot get an agreed price with an insurance company to properly repair a vehicle, we engage the customer,” said Quintela. “We give our customers a couple of options: 1) they can pay the difference, or 2) the customer can sign an Assignment of Benefits or Assignment of Proceeds and I will go after the insurance company on their behalf. I’ll step into their shoes. Every customer I’ve discussed this with agrees to take the second option.”
The Mississippi Collision Repair Association (MCRA) and the Alabama Automotive Repair Industry Society of Excellence (ALARISE) co-sponsored the first Southern Automotive Repair Industry Conference and Exhibition in Biloxi, MS, on April 26-27.
Presenters included Aaron Schulenburg of SCRS, Rick Leos with Toyota Motors, Ray Gunder and his attorney Brent Geohagen.
The inaugural event was held at the Beau Rivage Casino and Hotel in Biloxi, MS, and kicked off Friday night with a reception and exhibition featuring more than 18 vendors demonstrating their products and services to over 200 attendees from collision repair shops from across the Southeast.
"The event can be best described as an unqualified success, both in terms of information presented and the impressive number of attendees from seven states," said Bill Fowler, MCRA member and president of Bill Fowler's Bodyworks Inc. in Southaven, MS.
Atlanta Car washes and auto body shops appear to be safe for now in revised proposed Red-Light District legislationWritten by staff
Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan and his supporters in Neighborhood Planning Unit-F (NPU-F) were proposing legislation that would do away with the "grandfather clause" protecting numerous businesses targeted on Atlanta's Cheshire Bridge Rd. Although businesses such as Kong's Body Shop, which has been a fixture on Cheshire Bridge Road for over 27 years, councilman Wan and NPU-F wanted to close them down. Kong's opened their doors in 1986, ten years before the City and the NPU-F proposed a zoning change in 1996 from C (Commercial) to NC (Neighborhood Commercial). Businesses such as Kong's were protected under the "grandfather clause" which allowed businesses to operate under the new zoning regulations.
The controversial zoning changes, proposed by Alex Wan, would have essentially zoned out adult-only entertainment businesses as well as car washes and auto repair shops along the popular road considered the city's red light district. Wan and members of NPU-F argued the changes were part of a 1999 study of the road and approved in 2005 by the city council.
However, Councilmember Wan in an email to constituents now says he would only target adult businesses in his proposed rezoning ordinances for Cheshire Bridge Road. That means car washes and auto body shops, which were included in the original legislations to be zoned out, are apparently safe for now.
The Georgia Collision Industry Association will meet May 16 and host guest speaker Arthur Harris, administrator of the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG).
The DEG, launched in 2008, is a collective effort on behalf of the Automotive Service Association (ASA), the Association of Automotive Service Providers (AASP) and the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS). It was created to give repairers an efficient means of creating solutions for problems found in today's estimating systems. Information providers (IPs) do a good job of continually updating their systems, but new vehicles and repair processes change constantly.
To watch a video of Mississippi Collision Repair Association president John Mosley in a TV interview about the recent letter written by Attorney General Jim Hood warning insurers to cover hail damage, go to the MCRA website here:
In the wake of a hailstorm that created havoc for Mississippi residents left with damaged homes and cars, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood sent a letter to all insurance companies asking them to cover restoration of vehicles damaged by the hailstorm.
In the letter, Hood asks all insurance companies conducting business in the state to pay for necessary procedures to restore recently damaged vehicles to their pre-accident conditions.
Property damage from the March 18 hailstorm that pelted central Mississippi topped $25 million in early April and was expected to rise drastically as more residents filed insurance claims, the Clarion Ledger reported.
The Mississippi Department of Insurance on April 2 reported claims filed by nearly 10,000 homeowners and more than 31,000 auto owners in the wake of the massive storm. Together, they total more than $25 million, an amount that’s already been paid by the state’s major insurance carriers.