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Give some thoughtful people who are knowledgeable about the collision repair industry a chance to shine up a crystal ball and look into the future, and you're likely to hear some interesting things. 

During the 1980s and 1990s, association and seminar leaders frequently pointed to changes in vehicle technology that were putting a dent in the collision repair market. Daytime running lights, the third brake light and anti-lock braking systems (if drivers used them properly), they'd say, were among the key factors pulling accident frequency down. 

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company will replace existing Select Service and Service First® programs in designated market with its newly revamped Select Service program, recently tested in markets in California, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Select Service, an auto damage repair program currently in a limited number of locations, was introduced by State Farm in 2001. 

U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate negotiators agreed to renew the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act (S.250) for another six years. Despite President George W. Bush's proposal to leave the program unfunded in his next two fiscal year budget proposals, House and Senate conferees agreed to renew the Perkins Act. 

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs has been holding hearings to discuss legislation introduced by Senators Tim Johnson (D-S.D), and John Sununu (R-N.H). The legislation could impact who regulates the insurance industry, which is currently controlled by the states. 

One of the ways some shops are coping with what they are finding is decreasing profits in collision repair work is adding services beyond body work: mechanical work, detailing, and spray-on bed liners. 

Thursday, 31 August 2006 17:00

OSHA issues final rule on APFs

New Assigned Protection Factors (APFs) for respiratory protection programs are being incorporated into the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) respiratory protection standard. 

Rod Enlow joked that in mid-2005 as he became chairman of I-CAR's board of directors, it looked like it was going to be a fairly smooth and calm year for the training organization. The destructive forces of hurricanes Katrina and Rita turned out to be just one of the issues that ended up buffeting I-CAR during what Enlow now calls a challenging but successful year. 

Two northern California body shops have stepped up to the plate in an effort to stop illegal steering in the state. Competitors G&C Autobody and Dibble's Autobody have joined together in a lawsuit against GEICO (defendant) for steering customers away from their shops and not conducting the proper labor rate surveys to establish reasonable hourly rates. 

It's an altogether too common story in the auto body world - a $5,100 difference of opinion between the shop owner and the insurance company on how to properly repair a vehicle which led to an epic, one- year battle. 

The California Department of Insurance (DOI) has taken the first steps toward eliminating a long-standing thorn in the side of the collision industry - capping paint costs. In late August, the DOI held a workshop, chaired by staff members Deputy Insurance Commissioner Woody Girion and Tony Cignarale to discuss capping paint costs by insurance companies. 

State Farm's new Select Service DRP program, industry anti-fraud measures and estimating issues highlighted the discussion at the Collision Industry Conference, held in August at San Jose, California. CIC was held in conjunction with I-CAR's annual international conference - Getting Revved Up For Training. A power packed agenda filled the day for over 200 attendees. 

Owners and employees of various auto body shops in Shasta and Butte counties were allegedly involved in fraudulent insurance claims - with loss estimates ranging from $2,000 - $4,386 in 19 separate occurrences. 

A lawsuit brought against a body shop in San Francisco by a distributor of DuPont and Spies Hecker paints sheds some interesting light on current practices in the automotive paint distribution business. It may also serve as a warning to body shop owners that if you have a contract to buy paint from a particular jobber, think twice before you break that contract. 

Saturday, 30 September 2006 17:00

CRA has an attack dog mentality

The newly-formed Collision Repair Association of California (CRA) has already achieved one major victory by directly challenging GEICO Insurance on their practice of paint and materials capping. CRA forced officials to enforce the law that makes it illegal to set an arbitrary limit like paint capping. With this decisive win behind them, CRA has proven that this will be an organization to contend with. 

Hundreds of thousands of San Diego drivers will see their auto insurance premiums drop pending approval of the latest insurer filings with the California Department of Insurance (DOI). 

The United States House of Representatives is taking a crucial step to make America' s roadways safer by ensuring valuable information is easily accessible to consumers. Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL) along with Representative Charles Bass (R-NH), introduced the Damaged Vehicle Information Act (H.R.6093) in September. 

Saturday, 30 September 2006 17:00

CIC and I-CAR: Summer industry meetings

If you didn't attend the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) and I-CAR annual meeting, both held in San Jose, California, in August, you may have missed out on some useful news and information shared at the meetings. 

Alleging their vehicles' emissions have contributed significantly to global warming, harmed the resources, infrastructure and environmental health of California, and cost the state millions of dollars to address current and future effects, attorney general Bill Lockyer filed a lawsuit against leading U.S. and Japanese auto manufacturers. 

Tuesday, 31 October 2006 17:00

CRA challenges BAR over Progressive license

It has been several months since Progressive Insurance opened its first Concierge location in the San Diego area without registering with the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR). On May 11, the BAR determined - based upon an on-site visit - that the Progressive Service Center, in fact, met the requirements of an Auto Repair Dealer (ARD) and must register with the BAR. (Autobody News, July 2006)

Tuesday, 31 October 2006 17:00

OSHA renews alliance with CCAR

OSHA Administrator Ed Foulke signed a two-year Alliance renewal between the agency and the Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR). 

Tuesday, 31 October 2006 17:00

Open letter to industry from NASTF


Charlie Gorman, chairman of the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) has issued an open letter to colleagues in the collision repair industry to tout NASTF's recent accomplishments and goals for the future.

Tuesday, 31 October 2006 17:00

Nevada group spearheads CC tech center

The Nevada Collision Industry Association (NCIA) received kudos for its leadership role in making the Automotive Technology Center at the Community College of Southern Nevada a reality.

Tuesday, 31 October 2006 17:00

Proposed regs require standard ESC

A new proposal to require auto manufacturers to install electronic stability control (ESC) as a standard feature on all new passenger vehicles has the potential to save more than 10,000 lives every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

Tuesday, 31 October 2006 17:00

BAR regs define scope of labor rate surveys

New BAR regulations have reduced the importance of labor rate surveys, relegating them to little more than resource documents and preventing insurers from using them to artificially set the rate they will pay. The new regulations were hammered out after the California Department of Insurance held two days of hearings in an effort to define the parameters of auto body repair labor rate surveys conducted by the insurance companies. 

OEConnection LLC, a leader in ecommerce parts exchange and analysis solutions for the automotive original equipment replacement parts business, recently inked a marketing partnership with Ford Motor Company and General Motors for the national deployment of CollisionLink, OEConnection's technology for the fast, accurate online fulfillment of original equipment replacement parts to collision shops. 

U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif) has introduced The National Insurance Act of 2006. If passed, H.R. 6225 will provide an "optional federal charter" to insurers of life, property and casualty insurance, allowing insurers to choose between federal and state charters. 

Tuesday, 31 October 2006 17:00

Class-action suit against Farmers winding up

A class-action lawsuit against Farmers Group for the use of non-OEM parts in nine states, including California, Arizona and Texas, has been playing out quietly in Orange County (California) Superior Court over the past several months. The case, Lebrilla v. Farmers Group, is five years old and the "class" or group of affected people may include 700,000 Farmer's customers in nine states who have had their cars repaired since 1996. 

Tuesday, 31 October 2006 17:00

EZ Lube shops under investigation by BAR

Disciplinary action that may result in the suspension or revocation of the Automotive Repair Dealer (ARD) registrations of 76 Southern California EZ Lube auto repair shops, by the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR). This marks the largest BAR investigation in recent history against an independently-owned automotive repair corporation. 

Tuesday, 31 October 2006 17:00

New manifest form required

As of September, 2006, all hazardous waste generators and treatment, storage, and disposal facilities must use EPA's standardized hazardous waste manifest form. 

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has named Jeff Rose as Deputy First As-sistant Attorney General. Rose has served as Chief of the Civil General Litigation Division at the Office of the Attorney General since 2003, handling some of the state's highest profile civil litigation matters, ranging from school finance to health care administration. 

In March 2006, the U.S. District Court, Northed repair shop law, HB 1131, constitutional. Allstate filed a notice of appeal with theern District of Texas, found the Texas law prohibiting insurer-own U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, in April 2006.
Hank Tarter jokes that if you're going to have a heart attack, the place to be is Keizer, Oregon, a community of 35,000 residents just north of Oregon's capitol city of Salem.
Tuesday, 31 October 2006 17:00

Sherry Mehl named new BAR chief

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has finally filled the position of chief at the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR). Sherry Mehl, 57, of Sacramento, has been appointed chief of the BAR. 

Collision shop owners are being urged to contact their U.S. representatives asking that they co-sponsor H.R. 6093, the Damaged Vehicle Information Act.  

Tuesday, 31 October 2006 17:00

CAA helps consumers learn their rights

The California Autobody Association (CAA) has formed a new committee called the Collision Rights For Consumers committee. This committee will work closely with consumer groups to address some of the common issues that are affecting both the collision shops and the rights of the consumer.

The recent change from Mitchell to Audatex estimating systems by the American Family Insurance Customer Repair Program (CRP) has caused a ground swell of questions, accusations and opposition. 

Tuesday, 31 October 2006 17:00

Allstates proposed open platform benefits

Allstate will explore a new, more flexible estimating, communication and reporting platform for its PRO program. When complete, Allstate believes this work and the "open platform" concept will be well received by consumers, repair facilities and the industry. Allstate expects the exploration phase to continue through mid-2007 at which time testing is expected to begin.

Akzo Nobel has been advised by I-CAR that fifteen of its technical and business development classes have been approved under the 2006 re-certification criteria to receive Gold Class points through the I-CAR Training Alliance program effective November 1, 2006. 

Tuesday, 31 October 2006 17:00

Akzo Nobel and CIAI present 2006 endowments

Fall 2006 endowment recipients have been chosen by Akzo Nobel, along with the Advisory Council of the Collision Industry Advancement Initiative (CIAI). This is the fifth set of endowments since the program was established in 2004. This year's recipients are Contra Costa Community College, Northern Virginia Community College, and Skills Canada Student Competition. 

Tuesday, 31 October 2006 17:00

ADESA acquires 3 Texas salvage auctions

ADESA Impact, a unit of ADESA's Auction Services Group, has acquired three independent salvage auctions in the state of Texas, according to ADESA, Inc. (NYSE: KAR), provider of wholesale vehicle auctions and used vehicle dealer floorplan financing.

Four suspects have been arrested in a staged auto collision ring that allegedly caused more than 100 collisions in the Bay Area resulting in more than $2 million in losses to insurers, according to Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi. 

Probably everyone in the industry has heard some variation of the joke about wheels on toolboxes being the cause - or a result of - the high rate of turn-over among the industry's technicians. {sidebar id=1}

Several paint companies have announced price increases across the board. 

Thursday, 30 November 2006 17:00

Industry issues, expos highlight NACE 2006

A "high energy affair with a lot of productive business being done," said one trade show exhibitor, summing up the general consensus among attendees at NACE 2006 in Las Vegas. 

Friday, 12 January 2007 17:42

NACE 2006 delivers strong results

The 24th annual International Auto-body Congress and Exposition (NACE 2006) recently held in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, November 1-4, was a solid event for the collision repair industry - providing "more" of what attendees were looking for.

Future automotive technicians at Columbia College in Sonora, California, are getting some hands-on experience using Smog Check inspection equipment seized by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Automotive Repair (DCA/BAR) pursuant to a court order.
Friday, 12 January 2007 17:11

Quotes of Note for 2006

State Farm's new 'Select Service' program; a Texas court's upholding of a state law banning insurer-owned shops; the increasing percentage of vehicles being declared total losses; and the ongoing battle over the "right to repair" were among the most talked-about topics in the industry this past year.
Encompassing a list of accomplishments that spans the decades, the California Autobody Association (CAA) celebrated its 40th anniversary last month.

Two class-action lawsuits with major implications for body shops have been filed in California against six major insurers, challenging the basis upon which insurers require policyholders to pay out-of-pocket for choosing body shops that charge more than what the insurer claims is the prevailing labor rate. 

If refinish labor times on repaired panels are going to be adjusted from those in the estimating systems - something 96 percent of shops say they have seen insurers do - the printed copy of the estimate should show what the original labor time is. 

Thursday, 30 November 2006 17:00

CAA becomes newest regional affiliate of SCRS

The California Autobody Association (CAA) has become the latest regional association to join the growing affiliate ranks of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS).

Scott Daffron, owner of Daffron's Body Shop and Used Cars Inc. in Cortland, Ohio, received the Automotive Service Association (ASA)/National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Top Score Award during NACE. The award recognizes the ASA Collision Division member who received the highest score on the ASE master collision repair/refinish certification test. 
Lucky thirteen vehicles - including four cars, seven SUVs, and two minivans have earned Top Safety Pick awards for 2007, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (Institute). This award recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, and rear crashes based on ratings in Institute tests. Winners also have to be equipped with electronic stability control (ESC).
Two class-action lawsuits with major implications for body shops have been filed in California against six major insurers, challenging the basis upon which insurers require policyholders to pay out-of-pocket for choosing body shops that charge more than what the insurer claims is the prevailing labor rate.
At the end of the 30-day response period, the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) et al. presented its Answer to the petition for Writ of Mandate filed by the Collision Repair Association of California (CRA) in an attempt to force BAR to settle licensing issues regarding the Progressive Service Center of San Diego. BAR has already determined, as far back as May, that the center qualifies as an Auto Repair Dealer (ARD), and therefore must have a license to operate.
The Coordinating Committee For Automotive Repair (CCAR) has honored the “top ten” users of its S/P2 e-learning program among General Motors ASEP schools.