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GRC, a Registered Environmental Assessment firm, has structured a Certified Green Investment (CGI) program to provide no-cost funding to convert from solvent based paint to waterborne paint using a shared-savings partnership arrangement between major insurance carriers, paint manufacturers and lending institutions.

Group says Bills Could Cost Taxpayers Millions For Legal Defense

Three 'anti-consumer' pieces of legislation that will raise auto insurance rates,
invade drivers' privacy and violate the voter-approved consumer protections
of Proposition 103 will be heard in the Senate Banking, Finance and
Insurance committee June 18.

Visitors won’t see a “gone fishing” sign in the window of Salvatore Sardina’s auto body shop on Freedom Boulevard. But the mural on the side of his business may tempt some to leave work early and grab a fishing pole. A 50-foot-long mural that will adorn the side of Rolf’s Airport Auto Body at Freedom and Airport boulevards will celebrate fishing on the Monterey Bay.
    Sardina received unanimous approval Tuesday night from the City Council to create this piece of public art overlooking Freedom Boulevard.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008 14:59

AZ: AAA names top repair shops

by Arizona Daily Star

AAA Arizona has released its seventh annual list of "Top Shops," a list of auto repair facilities that the automobile club has determined provide their customers with honest, reliable and quality service.

Chatsworth Company Allegedly Underreported Payroll; Pleads No Contest to Fraud

Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced Cover All, Inc., a 15-year old flooring and carpet installation company headquartered Chatsworth, pled no contest to one count of insurance fraud in Los Angeles County Superior Court. On June 2, 2006, the corporation was placed on five years probation and ordered to pay $6.3 million restitution to the victim, State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF).

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Left to right: Richard Steffen, Erik Sumen, Luis Alonso, Lee Amaradio, Nathan Simmons and Allen Wood, outside of Commissioner Steve Poizner's San Francisco office

Parts Certification Provision Eliminated

California Senate Bill 350, “The Motor Vehicle Insurance: Automobile Repairs: Restraint Systems Act,” has been re-referred to the California Senate Banking, Finance and Insurance Committee. State Sen. Leland Y. Yee (D), author of S.B. 350, amended and re-introduced the bill to the committee.

In a final hour maneuver, CAPA and other groups behind AB 2825 (Carter) have amended an already burdensome measure and made it worse. Please read the adjoining amendments that went into the bill.

State Farm and several smaller Northwest-based auto insurers continue to be among the best at taking care of their customers after an accident. And some of the other larger, best-known insurers---including Progressive, Allstate, Safeco and Farmers Insurance -- are among the worst. That was the finding of a new survey of businesses that interact with auto insurers on behalf of vehicle-owners every day: Oregon collision repair shops.

Click for Full Story

Friday, 30 May 2008 17:00

SB 1059 is killed for 2008

The bill would have required insurers to spell out the use of aftermarket parts in insurance policies written on vehicles three-years-old or less, but it did not make it off the CA Senate floor last week. The bill was approved to be heard before the Senate adjourned at the end of this month---however, it was not brought up again, killing it for this legislative session.

Two men accused of staging thousands of phony vehicle crashes to defraud insurance companies out of millions of dollars were arrested Thursday, prosecutors said.

full story 

second story 5-16-08

A class action lawsuit (Case #CV08-03184), was filed today in United States Federal Court, Central District, alleging that State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is enriching itself with payments rightfully belonging to its insureds in violation of California law, particularly the "Make Whole Rule."

Body shop owner Kelly McCarty receieved approximately 32% of the 20,000 votes cast in the 64th district Republican Primary yesterday. Brian Nestande will be the Republican candidate.

Assembly Bill 594, revolutionary new legislation in Nevada, has quietly been enacted and implemented. The bill creates a Class A certification designation for body shops that meet certain criteria.

Seven individuals have been arrested for their alleged involvement in automobile arson and insurance fraud. The arrests are the result of two automobile “give-up” investigations. 

Senate Bill 1371, carried by Senator Lou Correa and sponsored by the California Autobody Association (CAA), was unanimously (11-0) supported by the members of the Senate committee on Banking, Finance, and Insurance on April 16.  There is currently no opposition to this bill.

Despite howls of protest from lobbyists representing insurers and aftermarket companies, the California Senate Judiciary Committee not only approved the CRA-sponsored SB 1059, it also added new muscle to the bill. By a 3-2 vote the committee agreed to add the following provision to the bill: “At the time of sale, the insurer shall specifically notify the insured whether the insurance contract allows for the use of aftermarket parts, and that such use may affect the insured's vehicle manufacturer's warranty.  The required use of aftermarket parts must also be clearly and conspicuously disclosed in bold type in the front declaration page of the policy."
  

 

Thursday, 05 June 2008 17:00

California Bill 2825 Amended

On May 29, AB 2825 (Carter) Automotive Repair: Crash Parts. AB 2825 was voted 73-0 Ayes on its third reading in the Assembly. It would require that upon completion of auto body repairs the automotive repair dealer must provide the customer with a written certification that the crash parts identified on the written estimate were installed on the customer's motor vehicle. The bill would also require that invoices for auto body repair work specify if any used, rebuilt, remanufactured, or reconditioned parts are supplied.

Saturday, 19 April 2008 09:49

San Diego Shops Cited for Labor Violations

The Economic Employment Enforcement Coalition (EEEC) investigators issued 41 citations for labor violations – with fines totaling more than $226,000 – in a recent sweep of 28 San Diego auto body businesses, according to the Labor and Workforce Development Agency.

“Shops should be calling on their legislators either in Sacramento or their districts to keep them updated on the collision industry,” states CAA Past President Dave Mello. 

State Senator Migden: “SB 1059 removes the Catch-22 that some insurers put claimants and repairers in when insurers insist that aftermarket parts be used in repairs even though doing this can void their clients’ vehicle warranties.

California will require all drivers to use hands free cell phones only while driving as of this July. The NHTSA has the following opinion on the hazards of talking while handling a cell phone.

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The CRA today called on repairers in California to rally around SB 1167 which it called “truth-setting policy” that protects consumers from insurer CRP steering tactics. The bill, authored by State Senator Pat Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) and sponsored by the CRA, states that when a claimant first reports an accident, the insurer would be required to ask if the claimant had selected a repairer. The bill then ties into current law that directs insurers not to recommend or suggest alternative repair choices when the claimant has selected a repairer. The bill is tentatively set for hearing on Wednesday, April 2, 2008 in the Senate Committee on Banking, Finance and Insurance.

 

Car customizer Bill Cushenbery is a legendary character and the fate of his hand-built bubble-top all aluminum sports car—the Silhouette II—has been shrouded in mystery for 35 years. After splitting with financial partners in 1964, the car was sold,  and thus began the saga of the lost Silhouette II. Bill retained the bubble top and doors thinking the car couldn’t be finished without the parts and he could ultimately get the car back, but the car essentially disappeared.

Weighing in on California S.B. 1167—on the opposition side, insurance company associations claim that such restrictive legislation would deprive consumers of information needed to make informed decisions on repairing vehicles following accidents. Referring to S.B. 1167 as an “anti-consumer bill,” insurer representatives state that the best consumer is the most informed consumer.

 

   

On the request of the California Autobody Association (CAA), Senator Lou Correa (from the Santa Ana, California area) has introduced SB 1371, which would prohibit insurers from arbitrary “capping” paint and materials charges associated with automobile insurance.

Thursday, 07 February 2008 17:00

CRA Sponsors Tough Anti-Steering Legislation

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The Collision Repair Association of California (CRA) is sponsoring SB 1167 to stop insurers from driving through two holes in California’s anti-steering law. The legislation, introduced February 7, 2008 by State Senator Pat Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa), requires insurers to first determine if the claimant has selected a shop prior to any discussion of repairs; and it prohibits insurer discussions of DRPs if a claimant has selected a shop.

 

Friday, 19 September 2008 14:19

BAR Labor Rate Survey Controversial

The president of the CRA, Lee Amaradio, cautioned automotive repair dealers (ARDs) that voluntarily providing the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) with labor rate information could hurt more than help ARDs to obtain reasonable labor rate payments from insurers.

The Collision Repair Association of California (CRA) is supporting legislation, SB 1059, sponsored by State Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) that would penalize an insurer that requires a repairer to install an aftermarket part on a vehicle under a factory warranty. The bill, introduced January 7, 2008, seeks to protect both consumers and repairers in situations where the use of an aftermarket part might void the factory warranty.

 

The Collision Repair Association of California (CRA) is supporting legislation, SB 1059, sponsored by State Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) that would penalize an insurer that requires a repairer to install an aftermarket part on a vehicle under a factory warranty. The bill, introduced January 7, 2008, seeks to protect both consumers and repairers in situations where the use of an aftermarket part might void the factory warranty.

 

Monday, 31 December 2007 17:00

California Denied EPA Waiver

Two recent political decisions – new energy legislation signed by President George Bush and the EPA’s denial of California’s tailpipe emissions waiver request – sent environmentalists on a roller coaster ride that ran smack into a wall like a crash test dummy with no seatbelts.

 

Monday, 31 December 2007 17:00

Steering Is Still The Main Issue

The California Autobody Association (CAA) recently surveyed its members and steering was ranked as the number one issue facing shops. The CAA has always ranked it as one of the problems facing the industry. A few years ago we pushed for legislation and were able to get SB 551 passed, which became a model for other states to use in their fight for an effective steering law. But even with steering legislation in place, members have seen steering escalate.

 

During the regular 2007 legislative session, a number of property/casualty insurance-related bills were considered and approved by lawmakers. Following are enacted 2007 bills (with brief summaries) that will become law January 1, 2008:

 

Existing California law prohibits insurers from requiring that an automobile be repaired at a specific automotive repair dealer. Under existing law, an insurer may suggest or recommend a specific automotive repair dealer under certain specified circumstances.

Southern California small business owners – including many autobody repair shops and related autobody businesses – were reminded by California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner to carefully review their insurance policies for business interruption coverage as recovery efforts get underway.

 

Alchemy Auto Painting & Collision Repair Inc., owned by Scott and Shelley Beetler of Corona, California, has opened its first location – one of the most advanced collision repair and auto painting facilities in the Inland Empire.

 

Friday, 30 November 2007 17:00

Tucson Single Mom gets Recycled Ride

This time of year lots of folks go out of their way to do nice things for others.  And, here in Tucson, a national program called Recycled Rides sure put a smile on the face of a single mother and her children.

 

Body Shops in California had a good month in the legislature with THREE in the "win" column, but more subtle problems remain

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Anti-Capping legislation, vetoed Pro-Invoice legislation and vetoed Steering Study requirements.  The first two actions are generally applauded by collision repairers, and the last one is positive, but more complicated because, although it would have required a task force study steering issues, it would have delayed action for up to two years, according to CAA.

Bill addressing auto repair fraud claims to deter the unsafe practice of installing previously deployed air bags.

Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod has introduced SB 427 a bill “designed to reduce unfair and illegal practices by some in the auto collision repair industry.”

Friday, 30 November 2007 17:00

Martin Auto Color Acquires Nevada T&H Store

Glenn Martin is pleased to announce the acquisition of T&H Auto Paints, Inc. of Carson City Nevada as the newest member of the Martin Auto Color family of stores.

 

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) announced that in a CA Department of Insurance hearing this month, consumer advocates argued that drivers with Allstate insurance policies deserve an 18.8% rate (averaging of $150 per car) under new rules that limit excessive profits by the industry.

 

Friday, 30 November 2007 17:00

CRA Spreads Message of Action at NACE

The Collision Repair Association of California (CRA) wrapped up its first appearance at NACE with accolades from shop owners and suppliers who praised the group for its effective, no-nonsense approach to advocating for a fair repair marketplace.

 

Friday, 19 September 2008 14:30

GEICO Opens Auto Repair Xpress in Sacramento

GEICO has opened its newest Auto Repair Xpress (ARX) facility in the Sacramento area at Shanahan's Auto Body on Power Inn Road.

Friday, 30 November 2007 17:00

Caliber Collision Opens Ontario Location

Caliber Collision Centers, an Irvine, California-based operator of collision repair facilities in California and Texas, plans to open a new 18,000 square foot facility located in Ontario, California.

 

The annual 911 Collision Centers Charity Invitational Golf Tournament raised over $44,500 for local children, stated golf committee chair Jordan Schacht, director of marketing for 911 Collision Centers and former board chair of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson. “Once again we bettered ourselves and can help more youth in Southern Arizona. We want to thank our generous sponsors and loyal participants who have made this event possible.

 

Collision repairers are being asked to contact their congressional representatives to support passage of House Resolution 5840, which would establish an Office of Insurance Information within the Treasury Department to address differences in insurance regulatory standards among the various states.
Monday, 03 December 2007 11:59

Employers Must Pay for Protective Equipment

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ruled that employers must pay the cost of providing personal protective equipment needed to protect workers from job-related injuries, reports the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).

The Oregon Speaker of the House has introduced legislation (H.B. 2186) to prohibit the sale and distribution of aftermarket motor vehicle parts if alternatives are available that “decrease greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.” The bill is primarily focused on aftermarket tires and would authorize the Environmental Quality Commission to implement enforcement regulations, likely based on a rolling resistance calculation. 

Tuesday, 31 March 2009 09:42

Unfair Competition Law in California

Auto Body Shop vs. Insurer

Unbeknownst to the majority of consumers, auto insurance companies are unlawfully steering them away from the repair shop of their choice and dictating where they can go and what parts can be used in the repair process. Many shops are cognizant of this anti-competitive business practice, but are reticent to act for fear of Insurer retribution. Unfortunately, the law has also made it difficult for auto body repair shops to do anything about unlawful steering. The solution lies in the missing link—consumers.

For those of you out there that haven’t heard, I have been elected president of the Collision Repair Association of California (CRA). I am proud to serve with a board that consists of all collision shop owners— Kim Andreatta, vice president; Blake Andros, treasurer; John Tyczki, secretary, Roy Carnevale, board member, Jim Boyle, board member, and Nathan Simmons, board member (see September Autobody News or website for photo.)
 

Thursday, 30 April 2009 17:00

Esperson --- New Pressures, New Solutions

Written by Dan Esperson

Folks in the collision industry are universally known for their savvy, determination and creativity—it’s a common thread that unites those that have chosen a career repairing collision-damaged vehicles. We enjoy doing what we do; we even revel in it at times. But no one has ever been able to turn sheet metal into gold. Barring some totally unforeseen discovery, don’t expect that to happen anytime soon.

Monday, 06 July 2009 17:54

Esperson --- Old Ways or New Habits---Choose One!

Written by Dan Esperson

hab•it
Pronunciation: \ˈha-bət\
Function: noun
A behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance
A way of acting fixed through repetition. HABIT implies a doing unconsciously and often compulsively.

Wednesday, 31 December 2008 13:44

Esperson --- Accurate Information from One Source

Written by Dan Esperson

With a large amount of questionable information circulating within the collision industry, it is surprising that damaged vehicles can be repaired to a consistent standard. Accurate information is the key to providing excellence in service to our customers.

Friday, 27 February 2009 14:57

Esperson --- Tools of the Trade

Written by Dan Esperson

Often during the week I take at least part of a day to visit collision shops in my neck of the woods. I guess I just get homesick, so to speak. I like to keep my hand on the pulse and observe the many innovative ways in which collision shops have adapted to the changing times… the technologies and processes within their respective environments.

Monday, 30 November 2009 13:56

Causey --- The Hartford Guilty of Suppressing Labor Rates in Connecticut

Written by Mike Causey

Filing a series of class action lawsuits has paid off for the Auto Body Association of Connecticut (ABAC). A Superior Court in Stamford, CT, ordered The Hartford Insurance Company to pay $15 million for using “unfair business practices to suppress labor rates.”