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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.”

Wednesday, 28 October 2009 09:31

Causey --- Body Shop Alert: Scam Artists Still Want to Steal Your Money!

Written by Mike Causey
As a follow-up to a previous article on body shop scams, a reader from Massachusetts sent me this letter:

Dear Mike,
I just came across your March article about body shop TTY scams. We are a small body shop operating in Massachusetts and we too have received these calls. The first came in spring, the same story about an Escalade that was in an accident in Arizona that the owner wanted towed to Massachusetts for repair. (Big alarms start sounding! We try hard to send out good work but come on. There has to be 5,000 body shops between here and Arizona, get real!)
Monday, 06 July 2009 17:39

Causey --- Strength in Numbers—Tying the Sticks Together

Written by Mike Causey
Consider the following Aesop’s Fable: A farmer was able to unite his bickering family despite their individual differences.  After trying in vain to reconcile his family by talking to them, he thought of an example that might work.
    The farmer called his sons together and asked them to gather a stack of sticks and bring them to him. Then he tied the sticks into one big bundle, and told the boys, one after another, to take up the bundle of sticks and break it. His sons all tried in vain to break the sticks.
While the insurance industry touts the virtues of the free-enterprise system and hails the free market as the driving force behind labor rates, behind the scenes they do just the opposite of free enterprise. It’s all about “control” of labor rates and the collision repair process.
Wednesday, 28 January 2009 17:52

Causey---Legislative Collision Repair Issues in 2009

Written by Mike Causey
Many state legislatures have convened for the 2009–2010 legislative session. Top issues for body shop owners and managers are the same as they have been in past years: labor rates, insurer steering of claimants and paint capping.
    Several states have passed laws in recent legislative sessions to address issues such as steering and labor rates. Steve Regan with the Massachusetts Auto Body Association (MABA) stated, “There has been an enormous amount of success in the last three or four years on the state level with respect to collision repair legislation.”
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 13:32

Causey --- Do You Know What Your Labor Rate Should Be?

Written by Mike Causey

How many times have you heard complaints from body shop owners about “low” labor rates?

A Mississippi body shop owner said recently, “We’re losing our collective asses at the front door because we’ve quietly accepted our current situation as being beyond our control!” The main reason these labor rate complaints abound is rooted in the “arbitrary” rate setting policy of insurers. Body shop owners could clearly benefit from knowing what their labor rates SHOULD BE and posting those labor rates clearly for all to see.
    When a body shop owner KNOWS the “cost factor” in his shop, then he knows the labor rate he MUST CHARGE. If the actual cost for body shop labor is sixty-dollars per hour ($60/hr), why not POST AND CHARGE sixty dollars per hour for body shop labor?
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 13:15

Chaney --- Have You Driven a Ford Lately?

Written by Janet Chaney

Who would have ever believed that we would be watching the Government battle the financial disaster brought upon the world by a small number of amoral people with limitless greed, self absorption, and a boundless appetite for profit. The fate of our country unfolds while we battle on the homefront to keep life as we know it for ourselves and our families. It seems to me it is the time for us to all act like Americans and fight for what is right in our Homeland.  If we don’t, who will?

Tuesday, 02 September 2008 17:39

Chaney---Gary Wano Jr. is Instrumental in Leading the Industry to the Future

Written by Janet Chaney

With Executive Director Dan Risley’s departure from SCRS, one might assume that the organization is foundering. Nothing could be further from the truth! Under the chairmanship of Gary Wano, Jr., G.W. and Son Auto Body Shop, Oklahoma City, progress on critical industry issues is already being made.

Thursday, 31 August 2006 17:00

Small town shop has big city mind set

Written by Janet Chaney

Black Mountain Body Shop sits in the foothills of its namesake Black Mountain in Cave Creek, Arizona. In 1982 when this shop opened for business in a one-room building, the gold mines of Black Mountain had been closed for less than a decade. 

Monday, 31 July 2006 17:00

New Caliber Collision president works to bring company back

Written by Janet Chaney

Caliber Collision Centers may have been founded in 1997, but the concept and beginnings of Caliber started years before. Al Estorga, Jack Falluca, Randy Stabler, Dave March, Stepan Altounian and Eric Bickett were major players in the collision industry, involved in associations and active participants in the Collision Industry Conference, with two being CIC past Chairmen.

As they attended industry events and gazed into the crystal ball of the collision repair industry future, they saw a better way to do business. As a group, their talent and dedication covered all points of the industry. They would consolidate their efforts. They chose the name Caliber to represent high quality and professionalism with the logo representing the high quality refinish jobs that were to become a Caliber mainstay. The original founders of Caliber Collision may never have been able to predict the outcome of their dream.

Thursday, 31 March 2005 17:00

Two techs represent the U.S. in the World Skills competition

Written by Janet Chaney

"To love what you do and feel that it matters - how could anything be more fun!"

-Katherine Graham

Saturday, 31 January 2004 17:00

Arizona collision repair groups unite to stop tied shops

Written by Janet Chaney

An Arizona group has announced plans to support legislation in that state to stop insurance companies from acquiring body shops.

Monday, 31 October 2005 17:00

NO shop owner tells harrowing tale of complete destruction

Written by Janet Chaney

On Friday, September 2, Doug Reed, Jr. locked the doors on his Chalmette, Louisiana business, Custom Body Shop, for what he could not have known would be the last time. Reed packed up his family and some personal belongings to evacuate New Orleans.