WESTERN NEWS (635)
California, Arizona and Nevada
Autobody News Western print edition is mailed to 8,500 body shops monthly
During a meeting with the area State Farm Estimatics Manager, Ron Reichen, President of Precision Body and Paint in Beaverton Oregon, chose not to re-negotiate his company’s Select Service agreement with State Farm Insurance, the nation’s largest personal auto insurer—a relationship which lasted over 17 years and of which accounted for $2 million dollars in business over the past year.
“It was actually a business decision we had been considering for some time” stated Reichen. “Discussions came to an impasse over fair and reasonable rates and allowances for aluminum repair. Our terminating the Select Service agreement stems from our company being a certified Tesla repair facility and the investments in time, equipment, training, specialized equipment and facilities which we could not offer for the rates State Farm was willing to pay. This will no doubt enable our company to re-evaluate and revise our pricing on other goods and services for the other manufacturers of which we are a certified repairer for including Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Nissan, Volvo, GM, Chrysler and several others.”
Along with all other insurers, State Farm has paid Precision’s posted aluminum labor rates in the past. With Precision being the only certified Tesla repairer in the state, it is believed that with its growing popularity and its all aluminum construction, that State Farm has now elected to deny Precision’s aluminum rates under the Select Service Program. As a result, like all other insurers, State Farm will no longer be provided the concessions (e.g. storage) Precision offered in the past.
Reichen stated: “While insurers continue to adjust their rates based upon economic pressures; as vehicle technology advances with new sophisticated metals, manufacturing and repair techniques, repairers, party to such programs as Select Service are precluded from keeping pace with their increasing costs. We found attempting to do so, while maintaining the highest level of quality and service, to be both unreasonable and unsustainable, and as a business decision we elected to resign from the insurer’s program.
“This was Precision’s last insurer Direct Repair relationship, and as in the past, we will continue to work with all insurers on our customer’s behalf. Precision is committed to its customers and our community and will continue to work diligently to serve them with the highest quality repairs and service in an expeditious manner regardless of which insurer is involved.”
State and local authorities served search warrants at several locations in Phoenix, Coolidge and Tucson as part of a 15-month investigation into an alleged auto theft ring.
According to authorities, car thieves took stolen vehicles to the "Hendrix & Co." salvage yard where the cars would be reduced to scrap, no questions asked.
"They provided opportunities for people that steal cars to dispose of those vehicles," said DPS Capt. Bruce Campbell.
"Word gets out... if you've got stolen silverware, people know where the crooked pawn shops are. Same thing with recyclables and salvage yards."
15 search warrants related to the Hendrix company were served at businesses and homes. Investigators raided three scrap yards in Phoenix, one in Coolidge, and one in Tucson.
About a dozen people were arrested. It's not clear if the owner of the company was one of those arrested. Hendrix, located at 9th St and Broadway, has been in the area for years.
"Specifically the investigation targeted trafficking in stolen property, fraudulent schemes, money laundering, narcotics sales, conspiracy, and operation of a criminal enterprise," said Robert Halliday, DPS.
The Phoenix Police Department says multiple agencies participated in the investigation dubbed Operation Tin Man.
Those included the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the state Automobile Theft Authority, the state Attorney General's Office and the county attorney offices for Maricopa and Pinal counties.
The sheriff's offices in Pima and Pinal counties and the Glendale and Goodyear police departments were among agencies that helped execute the warrants.
More arrests could be on the way. The investigation is ongoing.
California Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed Assembly Bill 841 (AB 841), which would require a scrap metal recycler to pay for the purchase of scrap metal by a check mailed to the seller. The bill was designed to help prevent theft by eliminating cash transactions.
Brown explained his decision in a public letter acknowledging that theft of nonferrous metals is a problem throughout the U.S. but current laws should be enough to reduce the problem, including four bills he has signed in the last year on the topic.
“Existing law requires that a seller wait three days before receiving payment for metal materials, a written record of the transaction, the name, driver’s license number, license plate number, thumbprint of the seller and a photograph or video of the seller and the material being sold. How much more do you need?” said Brown.
Brown said the state should focus more attention on enforcing current laws before implementing new ones, a statement that received praise from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) in Washington, DC.
“Gov. Brown correctly pointed out that the problem is not a lack of metals theft laws, but a lack of enforcement,” said Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. “Scrap recyclers across the country are working on a daily basis with law enforcement, prosecutors and legislators on ways to reduce thefts. We will continue our efforts to curb these thefts that are harming communities.”
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 60 which allows undocumented immigrants to apply for and receive a driver's license.
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones thanked Governor Brown for signing into law AB60 (Alejo), which will allow any resident to apply for and receive a driver license if they are able to show appropriate identification and receive proper training and education. Commissioner Jones issued the following statement.
“Assembly Bill 60 will improve safety on our roads by allowing all properly trained and tested individuals, regardless of their immigration status, to qualify for a California’s drivers’ license. Over a million newly eligible drivers will now get tested in order to get a license, ensuring that they know the rules of the road. We know that properly trained drivers who know California’s rules of the road are safer drivers and involved in fewer collisions. This makes driving safer for all of us.
Allowing these drivers--who are already on our roads without a license and without any testing -- to get a license will also increase the likelihood that they will get auto insurance, which they are separately required to do. Many who are not able to get a license now also decide to forgo auto insurance because they figure why bother since they are already driving illegally. Bringing these people out of the shadows and allowing them to apply for a license increases the likelihood they will also get insurance.
Fewer drivers operating without insurance and lower accident rates could lead to auto insurance savings for all consumers.
Having supported this important reform for years now, first as an Assemblymember and now as Insurance Commissioner, I applaud the Legislature and Governor Brown for making our roads safer for all Californians by enacting AB 60."
The California Department of Motor Vehicles estimates there are likely more than two million unlicensed drivers on California roads. They also estimate that 1.4 million individuals will become licensed pursuant to AB 60. The insurance industry estimates approximately 15 percent of all drivers are uninsured. A significant number of these uninsured vehicles are operated by those without legal immigration status, as prior to AB 60 the undocumented were prohibited from obtaining a drivers’ license.
AB 60 will take effect no later than January 1, 2015.
What has Sacramento done to your business this year
Thursday Oct 24th @ 6:00pm
Brookside Country Club
The California Autobody Association (CAA) and the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) have spent most of this year working to address a growing concern being reported to their offices regarding increased pressure from a few leading carriers to reduce refinish times on repaired panels. The national association noted a significant increase in complaints about this practice in the beginning of 2013, and the concerns have not been isolated to one carrier, or any geographic market. As part of their efforts SCRS issued a series of letters to 6 carriers whom were reported to be systematically reducing refinish times in a variety of markets across the U.S. The letter stated:
An Oakland man suspected of beating and robbing an auto body shop employee who was giving him a courtesy ride home Sept. 28 was arrested Oct. 1 after he returned to Alameda Collision Repair to collect his damaged car, KPIX Channel 5 reported.
The suspect was captured on surveillance video and shop employees alerted police to his return, KPIX said.
Meanwhile the robbery victim remains hospitalized. Friends of the young man told Alameda Patch that he is undergoing surgery for a fractured jaw.
The suspect had taken his vehicle to the shop at 1911 Park St. on Sept. 28 for an estimate and then asked for a ride to his home in Oakland, Police Lt. Jill Ottaviano said.
After they reached Oakland, the customer attacked the driver, who is an Alameda Collision Repair employee, and stole money from him, she said. The amount stolen was not reported.
The driver was taken to a local hospital for treatment. His injuries are not life-threatening, Ottaviano said.
The incident is considered a strong-arm robbery and reportedly no weapon was used, she said.
The incident is being investigated by the Oakland Police Department, she said. Alameda police are assisting with the investigation.
A California body shop owner who shot and killed a dissatisfied customer in Oct. 2011 was sentenced Sept. 27 to 50-years-to-life in prison for first-degree murder, according to reports in the Sacramento Bee.
Anthony Michael Vigil, now 49, first had to duck a tissue box thrown at him in the courtroom by the wife of the victim, Michael Paul Gonzales Jr., 26.
"This man is going to suffer for the rest of his life, his pathetic life, and then for all of eternity, and that's the only thing that brings me satisfaction," Jami Bryan said before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Kevin J. McCormick sentenced Vigil.
Vigil ran Anthony's Body Shop on Amalgam Way, just off Sunrise Boulevard in an industrial neighborhood near Gold River. According to Vigil's probation report, Gonzales brought his car into the shop several months before he was killed the night of Oct. 6, 2011.
"The defendant stated the work would be completed in approximately one week," the probation report said.
When it still wasn't done a week after that, Gonzales "called, texted, and emailed the defendant numerous times, but never received a call or text back," according to the probation report.
Vigil later told Gonzales, "there were issues with his insurance company paying for the repairs," the report said.
Two weeks before the shooting, Gonzales met another customer who said he was having trouble with Vigil. Gonzales agreed to accompany the other man to Vigil's shop to serve him with a small claims suit, the probation report said.
Gonzales and the other man arrived at the shop around 10 p.m. the night of the shooting. When Vigil arrived later, the report said, he retrieved a shotgun from inside his shop, called 911 and told the dispatcher, "Hold on, I'm going to shoot these m------------."
A California Highway Patrol dispatcher heard one gunshot before the line went dead. Paramedics pronounced Gonzales dead at the scene. Vigil waited for sheriff's deputies to arrest him. He claimed the shooting was in self defense.
Vigil has a past felony conviction for filing a false insurance report in 1997 that put him in jail for 10 days and on probation for five years, according to the probation report. The record also shows that he was convicted of a misdemeanor in 2004 for driving without a license.
At the sentencing, Gonzales' family described him as a devoted father of a son who was 3-years-old at the time of the fatal shooting.
Twin investigations led to the arrest of a Phoenix body shop owner on suspicion of identity theft and staging hit-and-run accidents to collect insurance benefits.
Read more HERE
Calif. Gov Jerry Brown has signed legislation to raise California's minimum wage by 25 percent, from $8 an hour to $10 an hour by 2016.
The bill, celebrated by Brown and his labor union allies at an event in Los Angeles, promises the first increase in California's hourly minimum since 2008, when the minimum wage was raised 50 cents to $8.
Read more HERE
The California Air Resources Board recently passed another mandate for auto manufacturers selling vehicles in California. As of 2014, all vehicles sold in California will be required to have windshields which reflect the sun. The windows would have a metallic coating, a window technology said to be in use for some 20 years now.
The board passed the mandate in hopes of not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions but also improving fuel efficiency. By using the sun-reflecting windows, vehicles will maintain a cooler temperature and therefore drivers will use less air conditioning. Apparently the windows are able to keep sedan interiors 14 degrees Fahrenheit cooler, while keeping a truck or SUV about 12 degrees cooler.
As of 2012, one-quarter of vehicles sold in the state of California will require the sun-reflecting windshields. These windshields must block fifty percent of the sun’s heat when a car is parked. By 2014, all vehicles will be required to have such windshields.
Starting in 2016, all vehicles will be required to block sixty percent of the sun’s heat. However, car manufacturers will be allowed to compensate for the temperature control in some other way, as long as it meets the increased standard.
According to statistics involved in the decision, the windshield change will prevent 700,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted in the year 2020. This is equal to removing 140,000 vehicles from the road all year. However, this is just a drop in the bucket when you consider the 22 million vehicles in California.
Some are concerned that the metallic coating on the windshields will interfere with the working of cell phones, GPS and toll road electronic passes. However, the windshields are going to have a small area in which the metallic coating is not placed. This is expected to alleviate the problem, although many are still skeptical.