Standing at the corner of 8th Street and Kingsley Drive in Koreatown in Los Angeles, Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi announced several arrests in a large "paper collision" insurance fraud ring. He also asked the community to assist in locating three members who remain at large.
Oil, antifreeze and paint. An auto body repair facility can create more than 200 gallons of potentially hazardous waste each year. Where do these by-products of the body shop business go?
Warning drivers that anyone can become a victim of insurance fraud, Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) announced the bust of an alleged auto insurance fraud ring that cost insurers - and ultimately policyholders - at least $1.5 million in the past year alone.
The International Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE) may have been the main draw that attracted more than 30,000 participants in the collision industry to Las Vegas in November, but there was no shortage of other meetings and events to also occupy their time while they were there.
Advancing a cause that is steadily gaining momentum, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP) - a national association representing the collision repair industry - has endorsed the petition spearheaded by the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) to support two-way communication between like estimating systems.
While no particular issue or news event seemed to dominate the industry's attention this past year - other than perhaps the slow-down in work shops felt in many parts of the country - it hasn't been a quiet one for collision repairers. Here is the annual year-in-review wrap-up, a collection of some of the most memorable, important, interesting or enlightening quotes heard around the industry during 2004.
With profit margins generally razor-thin at best these days, the last thing shops can afford to do is lose money in a scam. That's why a number of shop owners recently have come forward to share their stories of losing - or almost losing - some of their hard-earned money - as a caution against others doing the same.
Eric Reid wants to do his part to reduce the shortage of collision repair technicians he's always hearing and reading about. But Reid, the collision repair instructor at Northwest-Shoals Commun-ity College in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, is getting discouraged watching his top students move on to other fields because of low starting wages at body shops.
As Texas autobody shop owners continue to await a decision on Allstate vs. Abbott - the insurer's challenge to H.B. 1131 prohibiting insurer-owned collision repair facilities - two other states have introduced legislation attempting to ban tied-repair facilities. Although there are no Sterling Autobody shops or Caliber Collision Centers in Indiana and Missouri, those states are making a pre-emptive strike against insurer encroachment upon the independent body shops.