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Diminished Value Case Law

The October 23rd, 2008 Oregon Supreme Court decision supporting Oregon policyholders in collecting diminished value could solve other auto damage/repair related concerns as well. Oregon has joined the growing list of states which agree that policyholders are entitled to the loss (diminished) value of their vehicles when repairs do not fully restore the pre-loss value of their vehicle!  Post Repair Inspections professionals across the country applaud the decision and applaud the consumer’s perseverance in seeing this matter through to conclusion.

The California Department of Insurance is inching closer to releasing long-awaited rules to clarify how insurers may use labor rate surveys in adjusting claims. Draft rules have been presented to a working group of insurer and repairer lobbyists, including Richard Steffen representing the CRA. The department wants initial responses submitted to the department by October 10 with a showdown meeting set for October 17 at the department. Eventually the department will formally issues the rules, affording all interested parties (consumers, repairers, etc.) an opportunity to comment in writing.

Farmers Insurance announced that in a plea agreement with the San Jose District Attorney's Office in a criminal prosecution on 17 counts of insurance fraud, Gia Van Tran, owner of Tommy's Auto Body, San Jose, was sentenced to three years prison time for violation of Penal Code section 550(a)(1) (false statements in support of claim for insurance benefits).

Representatives of collision repair associations and insurers told the Department of Insurance (Aug. 26) that labor rate survey data should not be handled by third-party vendors. The department had floated the idea that CCC/Mitchell might be candidates for collecting labor rate data. The responses were provided at a meeting of insures, repairers and department officials.   

Saturday, 23 August 2008 12:09

CAA issues Legislative Alert on CA AB 2825

The California Autobody Association has issued a Legislative Alert requesting all California shops to contact the governor's office in opposition to AB 2825 (Carter). This bill is very similar to one vetoed last year by Governor Schwarzenegger.

Aug 15, 2008 -The Collision Repair Association of California (CRA) announced the addition of two new board members and a new president to help lead the trade group in its third year of fighting for the right of consumers to have their vehicles repaired in a quality manner at reasonable rates.

Monday, 11 August 2008 11:57

Phoenix Area Sees Repairs Increasing

"It's making more financial sense for consumers to repair older vehicles instead of purchasing new ones where they would have to worry about expensive monthly car payments," Lapps said.

When talking about the collision industry’s most influential women, Linda Holcomb more than fits the bill. Born in San Jose, California, Holcomb grew up in the post-war age of liberation for young people. In her zeal to start her working life, she liberated herself from college and went to work for Wilson Sales Co., the largest automotive equipment distribution company in Northern California. During the first two years she spent learning marketing and advertising on the job and became known as the first woman to ever enter the automotive equipment distribution industry.

Saturday, 02 August 2008 11:45

New San Fernando CAA Chapter Launched

The California Autobody Association’s New San Fernando Valley chapter recently swore in their 2008 officers at their June chapter meeting in Van Nuys, CA.
State board representative Chuck Reyes, Alhambra Auto Kraft, swore in the new officers.  The newly activated chapter is dedicated to providing its members information that will be useful to their business by bringing in speakers that are involved in the collision repair industry.

Saturday, 02 August 2008 11:33

911 Collision Opens 5th Shop in Tucson Area

911 Collision Centers has opened its fifth location in the Tucson area at Pusch View Lane and Oracle Roads. Founded in 1998 with headquarters in Tucson,

The California Assembly unanimously passed California Senate Bill 1371–the fifth version of the bill–that prohibits insurance companies from placing caps on payouts for collision repairs. The problem for the past two years has been that lawmakers cannot agree on a definition of capping.

Saturday, 02 August 2008 09:52

BAR Chief Shares Accomplishments with CAA

A warm San Diego evening with the breeze blowing in off the water created a perfect backdrop for the California Autobody Association (AAA) San Diego Chapter meeting. Special guest BAR Chief Sherry Mehl spoke to the group – which was about 100 strong. After a buffet dinner, Mehl took to the podium and spoke about the updates and changes at the BAR before taking questions submitted by the attendees.

California's Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced a quarter-million dollar settlement with Mercury Insurance Group for alleged claims handling violations in late June. 

The California Assembly unanimously passed California Senate Bill 1371 - the fifth version of the bill - that prohibits insurance companies from placing caps on payouts for collision repairs. The problem for the past two years has been that lawmakers cannot agree on a definition of capping.

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced that Department of Insurance investigators assisted in developing felony insurance fraud criminal complaints against Bita Imani, the owner of Redwood-city auto repair shop Group Specialists, and Mehran Baranriz, the general manager.

California State Automobile Association says it is closing all of its California call centers earlier than previously announced because it’s too expensive to do business in the state.

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.”