SOUTHEAST NEWS (291)
Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi
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The widow of a college dean killed when his car, being towed from his Florida home, ran him over, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the towing company. The tow truck driver is Kenneth Jay Schraff, 48, of Lauderdale Lakes.
Schraff was at the wheel of a wrecker Jan. 16 when Elias Konwufine of Lauderhill, an associate dean at Keiser University, fell under his own Mercedes-Benz. The 38-year-old father of three, a native of Cameroon, died later at a hospital.
The Mississippi Collision Repair Association is growing with 38 member shops. Their new website, www.mscra.net, is also up and running.
“We are planning a meeting to be held in the first quarter of this new year in advance of the convention on the coast in April,” said MCRA president John Mosley. Upcoming events include a weekend conference in Biloxi, MS, this April, in conjunction with Alabama’s new association, ALARISE. The two associations are currently planning the event.
GEICO has joined State Farm in seeking a gag order against Ray Gunder of Gunder’s Auto Center in Lakeland, FL. Gunder is suing the insurers on behalf of his customers for intentional short pays and a variety of other alleged misdoings.
According to Gunder’s spokespeople, GEICO brought in legal co-counsel last week from Arizona, who immediately sent notice to Gunder’s attorney, Brent Geohagan, that they would be seeking a delay/continuance for several scheduled depositions and request the court to issue a gag order to stop Gunder from sharing his legal findings.
Marvin Windham is the Parts Director for Benchmark Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Birmingham, AL. Windham has been a parts manager since 1976 and his company sells about $14 million in total sales. Currently, they have about 15 customers in the Birmingham area who have remained on the State Farm PartsTrader pilot program.
“We receive fax-only orders from PartsTrader for these customers. We didn’t sign up with PartsTrader, even though Birmingham was one of the first pilot cities,” Windham said.
Windham believes that PartsTrader offers no benefits to the repairer or supplier.
Georgians who lease a car starting March 1 will pay more in taxes than if they buy the vehicle outright, a change that has angered some motorists and one lawmakers are working to address, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently reported.
In lawmakers’ haste to push through last year’s bill that would phase out the so-called “birthday tax” on cars, they failed to account for the nuances of car leases, which account for 42% of new car transactions in Georgia.
Florida has a new set of stringent personal injury protection laws, which offer less time to make auto insurance claims and make it more difficult to get full medical benefit pay-outs, the Sun Sentinel recently reported.
Claims for reimbursement must be filed in 14 days. Before, there was no set limit.
As of Jan. 1, drivers involved in injury-inducing crashes must follow stricter rules to take full advantage of their PIP insurance policy. Initial treatments must be provided in a hospital or licensed clinic or by a select group of professionals, including medical doctor, dentist, chiropractor and paramedic. There also are two benefit thresholds: To qualify for $10,000, injuries must be diagnosed as an emergency medical condition. For non-emergency treatment, the maximum benefit is $2,500.
O’Reilly Automotive, Inc., a leading retailer in the automotive aftermarket, celebrated the opening of its 4,000th store, located in Tampa, FL, by hosting a day-long celebration of philanthropy, community and customers, on Jan. 19.
The community event began with the Tampa Chamber of Commerce overseeing a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony. O’Reilly also presented a charitable donation to the Ronald McDonald House. In addition, O’Reilly senior management hosted a customer appreciation cookout for lunch, a Dollar Stretching Deals sales event, and O’Reilly’s motorsports truck and trailer display, which includes a racing simulator.
“It is a testament to our Team Members’ commitment to our customer service culture that, ten years ago we operated less than 1,000 stores, and today we are opening our 4,000th store,” commented Greg Henslee, President and CEO. “This milestone is a reflection of our growth strategy, and we are excited to continue this growth in Florida with the opening of a distribution center in Lakeland, in early 2014, which will support our existing and future Florida stores.”
The recently formed Alabama Automotive Repair Industry Society of Excellence (ALARISE) recently became a new affiliate association of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS).
According to SCRS, Alabama had gone approximately five years without an active association when a group of shops in the market area began to discuss the prospects of forming a new association.
AkzoNobel Automotive & Aerospace Coatings Americas (A&AC) will host the 39th semi-annual gathering of the Acoat selected North American Performance Groups in Florida in early February. This meeting is the first of two national Acoat selected gatherings held annually by AkzoNobel, one of the top coatings manufacturers in the world.
The conference, scheduled for Feb. 6-8 at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota in Florida, will provide information and insights for two groups critical for shaping the future of the collision repair industry.
“Acoat selected’s record of success in helping businesses advance within the collision repair industry spans more than 25 years,” noted Barry Rinehart, North American Services Manager for AkzoNobel Automotive & Aerospace Coatings Americas.
Attendees will participate in an extensive offering of classes designed to promote practices intended to perpetuate sustainable business models. The curriculum will address industry trends, technology and leadership training.
CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts recently opened a new store, Perfection Collision CARSTAR, in Ocala, FL.
Owned by Michael Lessard, Lisa Lessard and Deanne Bonnet, Perfection Collision CARSTAR is the first CARSTAR location in Ocala.
The new Alabama Automotive Repair Industry Society of Excellence (ALARISE) met January 12 with about 40 attendees to discuss possible concerns related to the recent federal tax law changes, as well as the possibility of working together with the Mississippi Collision Repair Association for a joint conference in the spring.