WESTERN NEWS (635)
California, Arizona and Nevada
Autobody News Western print edition is mailed to 8,500 body shops monthly
In Burbank, CA, Suren Grigorian, 45, reported that his 2007 Mercedes Benz had been vandalized while parked in the garage of his residence. Grigorian then filed a claim for which his insurer paid $20,000. Suspicion was later aroused in Dec. 2010 when an informant told investigators at the California Division of Insurance (CDI) that it was Grigorian who inflicted the damage, rather than an anonymous perpetrator.
What began as a vandalism claim led to felony charges alleging insurance fraud and at least two staged auto accidents. Now each of the eight people arrested in connection will face hard time—up to 5 years in jail—and individual fines of $50,000, if convicted of the charges before them.
Pacific Collision Center of Cathedral City, CA, recently provided a 2011 Toyota Camry to a Coachella family in desperate need of transportation.
The giveaway, held in conjunction with the NABC Golf Fundraiser in Palm Springs on Jan. 23, was coordinated through Pacific Collision Centers and the Recycled Rides program.
“We had both the honor and pleasure to gift a vehicle to a needy family in the Palm Springs area,” said Steven Vettel, owner of Pacific Collision Centers. “Our director of marketing, Martha Serna, worked with Recycled Rides, along with local charities, Variety of the Desert and Angel View, to help facilitate the gifting of a 2011 Toyota Camry to Beatriz Alfaro,” Vettel said.
The Automotive Service Councils of California (ASCCA) and CAWA, representing the automotive parts industry in California, Nevada and Arizona, hosted the fourth annual Automotive Aftermarket Industry Summit on Saturday, Feb. 9 in Newport Beach, CA.
Welcoming remarks were made by Jack Crawley, ASCCA President, and Ed Jimenez, Chair of the Board, CAWA. Summit participants included those representing independent repair facilities and aftermarket parts manufacturers, distributors and retailers.
The San Diego chapter of the California Autobody Association hosted Dale Sailer, Vice President of Business Development for PartsTrader, Feb. 18 at the Hilton San Diego on Harbor Island.
At the meeting, with approximately 60 CAA members and visitors in attendance, Sailer provided perspective on how PartsTrader came to the market, a demonstration of the product, shared data regarding activity in the five initial markets, and answered questions.
Sailer described the PartsTrader product, which he said is an “easy-to-use, online marketplace.” About half those in attendance said they were on State Farm’s select service program.
The new Los Angeles chapter of the California Autobody Association will host Kristen Felder, Founder and CEO of Collision Hub, at its first meeting Feb. 21.
The California Autobody Association San Diego chapter will host PartsTrader's Dale Sailer, V.P. Business Development, Feb. 18 at the Hilton San Diego Airport on Harbor Island.
Sailer will provide perspective on how PartsTrader came to the market, share data regarding activity in the five initial markets and will provide a demonstration of the product, with a question and answer session to follow.
The meeting will also include 2013 chapter officers being sworn in.
Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting starts at 7 p.m.
Cost is $40 pre-paid for members or $60 at the door. Non-member cost is $100 pre-paid or $120 at the door. Registration is due by Feb. 15. Make check payable to CAA and mail to Hop Sanchez at 2214 Dante Terrace, Vista, CA 92084. New members or renewals, contact Cindy Shillito at (714) 944-4028.
The California Department of Insurance (CDI) announced Jan. 28 that eight suspects were arrested on felony charges alleging fraudulent insurance claims, allegedly staging two automobile accidents and fraudulent vehicle vandalism. If convicted on all charges, the suspects face up to five years in prison and fines up to $50,000 each.
The suspects, Suren Grigorian, 45; Aida Akopian, 36; Seda Markarian, 62; Mamikon Hakobyan, 74; Masis Galstan, 49; Rosa Galstyan, 42; Roza Issayan, 41; and Setik Patatanian, 49, are all from the Burbank/Glendale area.
According to CDI investigators, the department received a tip from an informant in December 2010 alleging that Grigorian filed a fraudulent insurance claim stemming from his report of vandalism to a 2007 Mercedes sedan parked in the garage of his Burbank residence. The insurer paid approximately $20,000 to settle the damages claim. Further investigation revealed Grigorian and others were also allegedly involved in two suspected staged collisions in 2008. In that case, multiple insurers paid out over $62,000 to settle damage claims.
An auto body repair shop in Phoenix was recently lauded by five of the largest insurance companies in Arizona for exposing a man in Phoenix, AZ, who have been staging fake collisions to collect huge insurance claims from these insurance companies. Capitol Collision Repair Specialists received plaques of recognition from these insurance companies.
The criminal is suspected of staging more than 10 collisions in the past year and processing claims from the insurance companies amounting to more than a $1 million. Charges have been filed against him and the case is pending in court.
The first California Autobody Association meeting of 2013 for the Pasadena/Glendale/Foothill chapter met at Brookside Country Club in Pasadena on Jan. 30.
Chapter president Linda Holcomb was unable to attend, but Lillian Maimone from Marcos Auto Body presided in her place. The relatively short meeting was sponsored by Joe Carrier of Auto Equipment Solutions, and Eric Eberhart with G&K Services. G&K Services provides uniforms for 170,000 businesses and has operated since 1902. The meeting also included a brief introduction by Anthony Guinn from WIN Auto. He is heading up the new Los Angeles CAA chapter. Their first meeting will be February 21 at the Carson Holiday Inn, and a special meeting is set for April 21 at the Toyota Museum in Torrance.
The California Auto Body Association Inland Empire chapter will meet on March 5 to learn about what is being called a "game changer" in the industry. It's Toyota's new 'Predictive Estimating' system.
Guest speaker Rick Leos will introduce the system and lead the discussion.
The system begins with a complete estimate and allows the user to omit items as appropriate, instead of starting from a blank page and adding items based on what they know or can locate about OEM procedures. The system requires the user only to select the damaged portions of the vehicle (left front fender, for example), and all items related to that section of the vehicle are automatically listed, including such item as one-time use fasteners, necessary information labels, and procedures such as color sand and polish (with a link to Toyota's bulletin indicating that it is a procedure necessary even at the factory).
The meeting will be held at Toyota/Scion of San Bernardino, 650 W. Auto Center Dr., in San Bernardino, CA.
Cost is $50 for members, or $100 for non-members. Vendors are $150. Registration begins at 5:30 and the speaker starts at 6:30.
To view a pdf file of this article with photos, click HERE.
Charity giving is alive and well for body shops in Northern California. Four collision repairer companies were among those who gave away refurbished cars through charitable efforts during 2012.
G&C Auto Body, Golden State Collision, Regal Collision and Mike’s Auto Body all stepped up last year and reached out to their respective communities in a huge way. By providing 15 needy families or non-profit organizations with vehicles, these shops changed their recipients’ lives literally overnight by giving them a new start and the independence of transportation.
On Nov. 11, Mike Rose’s Auto Body held the first of its two Benevolence presentations on Veteran’s Day at its Fairfield location. The second presentation was held at its Antioch location on December 12. A total of six cars were given away by the company, setting a bar for charity amongst body shops in the Bay Area.