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In early August, the California Department of Insurance (DOI) convened a meeting in which nearly 100 members of the collision repair industry met with three members of the DOI to address the issue of paint and materials price capping.

The Department of Insurance (DOI) has released its most recent notice concerning the conducting of an auto body repair labor rate survey. Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has proposed text changes to Sections 2698.91 and 2698.92.

Friday, 31 August 2007 17:00

Suit Against Ferrantes Thrown Out

In August, Dick Strom told the story of Chris and Carol Ferrante – “You don’t have to be guilty to be hanged.” Although they were no longer owners of Gilbert Collision Center, the Ferrantes  were named in a suit brought against the business by Infinity Insurance, turning their world upside down – sullying their reputations and costly them financially.

Recently confirmed Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) Chief Sherry Mehl was the guest speaker at the California Autobody Association (CAA) third quarter board meeting in Santa Clara in August.

As many repairers already know, California is playing by new rules. The state’s new VOC regulations are requiring the changeover from solvent based to waterborne paints in more and more counties. BASF wants shops to get a head start on the transition. Prior to the September 20th Santa Clara CAATrade Faire, BASF is hosting a free seminar to explain the new VOC regs and their impact on autobody businesses that will be converting in the near future..
    Do not miss this clinic taking place one hour before the September 20 Trade Faire from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Willow Room at the San Jose Holiday Inn, 1740 N. First Street @ Highway 101, San Jose. For more information, call Janet Chaney, 480-720-2565.
    Victor A. Douglas from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District will provide a brief summary of the status of Regulation 8 Rule 45 and developing amendments.
    BASF Environment Health and Safety Product Steward Tom Laginess will address government regulations, customer readiness and waterborne technology.

Not lying idle during the dog days of summer, the Collision Repair Association of California (CRA) has added three board members with over 100 combined years of collision repair experience in Central and Southern California.

Friday, 31 August 2007 17:00

New Ed Sessions Spotlight NACE

The first-ever Women’s Professional Development (WPD) Track will debut at the 25th annual International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE). This specialized track will feature four brand-new sessions to further develop the skills and careers of women who are directly or indirectly involved in the collision repair and automotive service industries. 

Chicago Pneumatic, a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of innovative aftermarket tools, accessories and compressors, has signed a three-year partnership agreement with hot rod designer and TV personality Rich Evans. 

Friday, 31 August 2007 17:00

TX AG, Allstate Claim Victory on HB 1131

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Allstate Insurance Company are each claiming partial victory as the U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, New Orleans, has affirmed the District Court ruling in the case of Allstate Insurance Co., et al., Appellants-Appellees vs. Greg Abbott, Etc., et al., vs. Automotive Service Association, et al. 

Collision repair shops regularly decry the practice by some insurers of denigrating one shop in order to influence a consumer to select a shop in that insurer’s direct repair program (DRP). But could that DRP shop be found to be engaged in an unfair trade practice based on that insurer’s behavior? 

I-CAR leaders, during the training organization’s annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, in late July, openly explained that the past year had been a tough one financially, but also pointed to a number of accomplishments as well as plans for the future that they believe will turn things around for the non-profit.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007 18:05

Industry Mourns Loss of March Taylor

March Taylor DiesThe Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and its Board of Directors extend our prayers and thoughts to the family of March Taylor as we mourn his loss. March's effect on SCRS, the industry and each of us on a personal level can't be measured or quantified. An individual that touched the lives of many, he continuously poured his efforts into an industry that he believed in.
In the first auto body shop fraud case tried under a 1993 state law, a Los Angeles jury issued an injunction against Hollywood Auto Collision, prohibiting the shop from submitting further false claims to Farmers Insurance Exchange. After a weeklong trial, the jury deliberated for less than five hours July 9 before awarding Farmers Insurance $163,387. Plaintiff's lawyers successfully proved the auto body shop violated the Insurance Frauds Prevention Act and part of the California Business and Professions Code.
What the California Autobody Association (CAA) refers to as “an extremely valuable benefit tool that shops should read and utilize” – Collision Industry Guide – is now available to members of the association.
Tuesday, 31 July 2007 17:00

California customizer wins coveted award

“Undisputed” – painted by Alan Palmer of Palmer’s Custom Paint & Body, won the 2007 Outstanding Paint division of the Don Ridler Memorial Award at Detroit’s Autorama.

Two legislative bills that would change the way that vehicle total losses are disclosed to the public have earned the support of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS). 

DRC Inc. and the state of Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have begun a significant remediation of approximately 10,000 automobiles and other vessels that were irreparably damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

The designs of seats and head restraints in 21 current SUV, pickup, and minivan models are rated good for protecting people in rear impacts, but those in 54 other models are rated marginal or poor. Another 12 are rated acceptable. The latest evaluations of occupant protection in rear-end collisions by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (the Institute) found that the seat/head restraints in more than half of light truck and minivan models fall short of state-of-the-art protection from neck injury or whiplash.

Keystone Automotive Industries, Inc. (Nasdaq:KEYS) has signed a definitive merger agreement with LKQ Corporation (Nasdaq:LKQX) in which LKQ will acquire Keystone for $48 per share in cash, representing an aggregate purchase price of approximately $811 million on a fully diluted basis. The merger is expected to close early in the fourth quarter of calendar 2007, subject to the approval of Keystone’s shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary conditions. The merger agreement does not contain a financing contingency.
Farmers Insurance Group, auto and home insurer, has just gotten bigger by announcing the completion of its acquisition of non-standard auto insurer, Bristol West Holdings, Inc.
Tuesday, 31 July 2007 17:00

DOI thwarts skewed labor rate surveys

In what the Collision Repair Association of California (CRA) calls “a major win for repairers, the Department of Insurance has put in writing conditions intended to prevent insurers from using skewed labor rates surveys to underpay the cost of collision repairs. Specifically, Gary Cohen, former DOI general counsel at the time, in a June 2007 letter to Gene Crozat, owner of G&C Autobody and president of CRA, held that an insurer survey, regardless of how it is conducted, “does not create the presumption that these surveys accurately reflect the prevailing rates charged by auto body repair shops in a specific geographic area.”

Arizona’s Gila Watershed Partnership has been awarded two separate grants to address the problem of abandoned vehicles in Graham County according to Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens.

A position statement on the “feather, fill and block” procedure presented by the Automotive Service Association (ASA) Refinish Subcommittee has been approved by the board of directors. The subcommittee drafted the text under the direction of chairman Dan Stander, Jerry Stander’s Collision Works, Littleton, Colorado.

Assured Performance Network, a non-profit consumer advocacy organization and body shop cooperative (co-op), has grown to approximately 3,000 Qualified Members, and over 1,200 Member shops participating in the co-op buying group. Collectively, this network of shops performs nearly $10 billion dollars in repairs with buying power of nearly $5 billion. There is  now at least one Qualified Collision Care location within 15 minutes of at least 95% of the entire U.S. population.
Former general manager of Akzo Nobel’s Functional Chemicals business, Dutch-born Jo Lennartz will become the company’s new Director of Technology, effective September 1.

Akzo Nobel’s Automotive Plastic Coatings (APC) site at Garcia in Nuevo León, Mexico  received the coveted State Quality Award (Premio Nuevo León a la Calidad) after an exhaustive year-long audit and judging process which put the company’s management systems through a demanding series of tests and reviews. The highly prestigious award is in recognition of the facility’s continued commitment to operational excellence

Akzo Nobel dedicated its tenth state-of-the-art instruction center in North America to the memory of Mike Gunder, a technical manager for Akzo Nobel, who had faithfully represented the company for 18 years until his untimely passing in 2005

Nominations are now open for the 13th Annual Pride Awards given annually by the National Auto Body Council (NABC) to identify and celebrate those in the collision industry who selflessly perform exceptional deeds, contributing above and beyond to humanity , exemplifying the giving spirit of the industry and, thereby, improving the image of the collision industry.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007 17:00

NACE 2007 offers wide variety of events

Active ImageThe 25th annual International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) conference program plans to deliver a comprehensive compilation of sessions, speakers and topics – addressing the needs of today’s collision repair professional. Fifty-seven conference sessions present tracks in Auto Glass, Estimating, Jobber, Management, Vehicle Repair, Women’s Professional Development (new track for 2007)...
With many state legislatures winding down for the summer or year, collision repairers are wondering what some newly-passed laws will mean for them.
Tuesday, 31 July 2007 17:00

Law raises service and storage charges

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law bill AB 1575 (Richardson) which increases what a repair shop may charge a finance company for services and storage. Auto repair shops occasionally are faced with the situation where the customer does not pay the repair bill.

    Most collision repair shops wouldn’t think of letting customers leave with their vehicle without paying. At Keenan Auto Body, it’s starting to happen more often – which is just fine, according to Michael LeVasseur, vice president and chief operating officer of the 7-shop company in the Philadelphia area.
    After months of classroom study and hands-on practice on motor vehicles, 100 students from across the country faced off in the nation’s largest student automotive technician competition, the annual Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills.
    The National Collision Industry Alliance is a new trade association structured to maximize member resources and use emerging technologies to provide uncompromised advocacy for the collision repair industry.
    Hollywood has Oscars. Broadway has Tonys. TV has Emmys. Video productions are honored with the coveted Telly Award. And the winner for outstanding video production is … Toyota. Toyota walked away with top honors for their entries in the video/film program category. As a University of Toyota industry partner, BASF supported the accolade.
    Mentors at Work is once again initiating its annual quest for the best of the best occupational mentors in the country and is seeking nominations from the collision repair industry for consideration for the “Mentor Of The Year” award. This “Mentor Of The Year” award will be presented to the journeyman technician, currently working in a shop, who has shown exceptional skill and prowess in teaching and training new technician talent for his or her employer.
    What if your car had a sixth sense that could “see” the traffic you couldn’t or didn’t notice, and, if needed, stopped itself to prevent a collision?
Thursday, 12 February 2009 16:17

Senate Passes “Clunker-Free” Stimulus Bill

Most Collision Repairers supported Cash for Clunkers, but SEMA Members and SAN Enthusiasts Claim Credit for Helping Block  Program

SEMA-member companies and classic-car enthusiasts helped eliminate a "Cash for Clunkers" provision from both the Senate and House versions of the economic stimulus bill.

SEMA praised the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives for passing "clunker-free" versions of the economic stimulus bill. The final bill to be signed into law by President Obama has no vehicle scrappage program.

Gas prices too high? Put on the brakes and settle in to Comedy Central’s new series, "American Body Shop," a half-hour narrative that explores the completely dented world of car maintenance, body work and the people who toil in it. "American Body Shop" premieres on Sunday, July 8 at 10:30 p.m.
    Automotive Service Association (ASA) members recently attended the BASF Refinish Technologies review following BASF’s meeting with General Motors Corp. BASF and GM annually review BASF refinish coating products being used by GM dealers and independent repairers. ASA attended in response to an invitation from Joseph Skurka, BASF manager of OEM and Industry Relations.
After extensive testing, Akzo Nobel has received confirmation from Toyota Motor Corporation Japan of the waterborne repair products meeting their specification.
Project Graduation, now in its fourth year, recently provided all-night fun for graduates of Ironwood Ridge High School in Tucson, Arizona. The program, which depends on a partnership between school administration, parents, law enforcement and the business community, began at 9 p.m. May 22 and concluded with the car raffle at 5 a.m. the following morning.
    It is a common practice for many Automotive Repair Dealers (ARDs) to list individual prices for each separate part replaced and each repair/service performed on the invoice. While this has been the industry’s standard of practice for many years, a few ARDs expect customers to pay lump-sum bills without question, and the applicable regulation has been subject to differing interpretations.
    Registered Automotive Repair Dealers (ARDs) may schedule free Write it Right presentations by contacting BAR program representatives at any of the 12 field offices located throughout the State. Office numbers are listed on the back page of the Auto Repair & Smog Check News or through the website, www.smogcheck.ca.gov.
    Kelly McCarty, former California Autobody Association president and owner of Carty’s Collision Center in Ontario, California has announced her candidacy for the 64th assembly in Riverside Co unty.
Tuesday, 31 July 2007 17:00

California clean car standards for NM

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New Mexico, under a general order from Governor Bill Richardson, is moving to adopt the California Clean Car standards. The New Mexico Department of the Environment has proposed standards that, if passed, would implement the California vehicle emission standards - including the super warranty. The proposal directs the state to implement global warming and smog-forming emissions standards for vehicles.
    Bill Haas, Automotive Service Association (ASA) vice president of education and training, testified at the Texas state Capitol in Austin, Texas to voice support for shop licensing legislation for the state of Texas. The bill was left pending at the end of the legislative session and it is not yet known if it will be taken up in the next session in 2009.
Wednesday, 06 June 2007 10:45

ASA-Texas named ASA affiliate of the year

    During the Automotive Service Association’s recent Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony in Nashville, Tenn., ASA presented its Affiliate of the Year Award to ASA-Texas for its outstanding accomplishments across a broad range of categories. ASA-Texas was selected for its excellence in membership growth, educational events, participation in ASA national programs, legislative activity and overall contributions of its membership to the automotive service industry.
    Shop owners in Texas still struggle daily with the issue of insurer steering, even though the act itself is clearly against the law and outlined in the Texas Insurance Code. The latest revision to the code was made in 2005 by the 79th legislature.
    GMAC Insurance announced its “SmartParts Promise,” a unique program that guarantees the use of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts in all collision repairs to ensure the best quality repairs possible after an accident. The benefit is immediately available free of charge to all policyholders nationwide.
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 Chris Gardner with actor Will Smith.
     The 2007 International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) announced that author and philanthropist, Chris Gardner will share his remarkable story during the NACE 2007 keynote presentation. DuPont Performance Coatings is the sponsor of the Opening General Session taking place Thursday morning, November 1 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
    Effective marketing and promotional pieces help to draw in additional sales leads and potential profits in the collision industry. SEMA has created educational webinars that provide valuable tips on developing advertisements that could stand out from the many that potential buyers see daily.
    The auto insurance arm of State Farm insurance made a $25,000 donation in April to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California Recovery Team fund. This bought State Farm executives an invitation to a private party at the governor’s home in Los Angeles.
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    New executive leaders of the South Coast chapter of the California Autobody Association invite the public to share in their new mission at an upcoming meeting. The New President and Vice President of the South Coast Chapter of the CAA personally invite all Southern California shops to attend. CAA members and non-members are welcome. With new leadership the South Coast Chapter is headed in a new direction and welcomes the opportunity to share their vision with shops in the South Los Angeles County area. Mark your calendars for July 18, 2007.
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WIN board of directors, seated from left, Geralyn Kottschade (chair), Sheila Loftus (executive director); standing, from left, Catherine Babiar (international), Trish Serratore (treasurer), Frederica Carter (advisory), Gigi Walker (Secretary), Marcy Tieger (advisory), Kathy Mello (vice chair). 
    The inaugural Women’s Industry Network (WIN) conference held April 29-May 1 in Phoenix, Arizona, featured 115 attendees, the vast majority of them women. Attendees came from more than a dozen states and Canada to share insight in regards to women in the collision industry.
    California Truck Jamboree, North America’s largest custom and classic truck show competition, celebrated “20 Years of Truck Jam” with its tricked-out, car crushing 2007 spring show in Irvine on May 6. As the first of two 20th anniversary events, the Spring California Truck Jam included more than 500 custom tricked-out trucks.
    The California Autobody Association (CAA) recently told its members that it is still opposed to AB 1483, the bill introduced by Assemblymember Wilmer Amina Carter that would require shop owners to affirm that all crash parts on the estimate were in fact used. The CAA said their position will not change unless amendments are made to address concerns.
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 Akzo Nobel’s Brad Jones completes a spot repair in the paint booth on a Dodge Caravan at the clinic.
    California Color Source, Inc. and Akzo Nobel Coatings co-hosted a waterborne technology clinic at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif. on the evening of May 8. Over 130 attendees represented collision repair facilities and industry vendors.