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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has published (online) a database of serious accidents involving possible product or equipment failure. That information, known as Early Warning data, has been in use by NHTSA for five years but is only now available to the public.

Audatex North America announced that it has updated its Database Reference Manual for 2008--2009. The manual now includes the "Best Practices Guidelines" of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC). The CIC brings together leaders from the auto collision industry, insurance providers, paint suppliers and other major automotive vendors.

Anthony A. Martino, founder, chairman and CEO of Maaco Collision Repair & Auto Painting, passed away on Sunday, January 20. He was 75 years old.
 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the final rule for paint stripping and miscellaneous surface coating. This regulation enacts national emission standards for area sources engaged in paint stripping and various surface coating operations. Specifically included in the regulation are stricter requirements regarding toxic standards for smaller emitting sources in three industry sectors: paint stripping operations, surface coating that involves paints containing metal hazardous air pollutant (HAP) compounds, and auto body refinishing.

 

Optimism reigned at the January meeting of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) in Palm Springs, driven largely by the announcement by the governmental committee of a new website that directly accesses manufacturer’s repair information.

 

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.

 

Last spring representatives from the National Auto Body Council (NABC) were invited to make presentations as part of the curriculum for Arizona State University’s Certificate for Automotive Entrepreneurs and Leaders program (CAEL).

 

Friday, 19 September 2008 14:34

Rear-End Crashes Major Problem

Summary:
► Rear-end crashes one of most common for most types of fleets
► 17% of all claims, cost over $13K per claim
► Truck-striking, truck-struck collisions make up 18% of large truck accidents
► Following too close is major problem
► Analysis revealed much higher risk of rear-end collisions if vehicles maintain less than 2-seconds following distance
► Most driver training programs recommend 3 or 4 seconds following distance
► Change in speed, interruption to flow of traffic factors in rear-end crashes
► More rear-end crashes occur in farthest right lane due to traffic flow changes, left lane next most frequent, center lane least

Friday, 19 September 2008 14:25

Audatex Adds CIC "Best Practice Guidelines"

Audatex announced that it has updated its Database Reference Manual for 2008–2009 to include the "Best Practices Guidelines" of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC). The CIC Best Practices Guidelines contain ‘reasonable and accepted’ expectations of insurers and collision repairers. The guidelines represent the industry’s first agreed-upon set of standards that help “level-set” expectations for all parties. “This is truly an industry first, and a great step toward helping bridge historical differences between all involved parties,” said Stacy Bartnik, CIC Chair and Assistant Vice President, Field Services for CARSTAR.

The Quality Parts Coalition (QPC) urges the collision repair industry to support efforts to preserve competition in the replacement crash parts market. QPC warns that large automobile manufacturers may be trying to obtain restrictive 14-year design patents on visible components of many new car makes and models, further monopolizing the auto repair parts market, and endangering the future of the industry.

 

Friday, 30 November 2007 17:00

SF Parts Procurement Program

Prior to State Farm launching a test of an electronic parts procurement program with its Select Service shops in San Diego, an insurer spokesman said the company is considering what role it can play in streamlining other aspects of collision repair claims.

 

Nine companies have received appreciation from the I-CAR Education Foundation for their continued financial support over the past 15 years.

 

Friday, 30 November 2007 17:00

I-CAR Exec McGee Resigns

Tom McGee has stepped down from his role as president and CEO of the Inter-industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR), sparking a reorganization of the responsibilities of I-CAR and the I-CAR Education Foundation.

 

Friday, 30 November 2007 17:00

Federal Fuel Rules Dismissed

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed the U.S. government’s new federal fuel economy standards for many sport-utility vehicles, minivans and pickup trucks in a November ruling

 

Friday, 30 November 2007 17:00

Taking Back Control Of Your Business

In October, the Coalition for Collision Repair Excellence (theCCRE) held its annual Summit Conference and Seminar Series, considered by those attending to be the best learning experience to date. Tallied responses by attendees indicated a 96% very positive approval rating, most saying it exceeded their expectations, most also indicating they planned on attending CCRE’s Seminar Series scheduled for October 2008. Held at Nashua, New Hampshire’s Crown Plaza Hotel, surrounded by thousands of trees at the peak of their flaming multicolored beauty, the best and most profitable independent minds in the collision industry convened.

 

At NACE, the Collision Repair Instructors Network (CRIN) and the I-CAR Education Foundation presented the 2007 Instructor of the Year award to Jim Friedel, a collision repair instructor from Sussex Technical High School in Georgetown, Delaware. Friedel received an expense-paid trip to NACE 2007 where he was recognized for this achievement and honored with a plaque during the annual CRIN meeting.

 

Friday, 30 November 2007 17:00

Allstate Adopts Open Platform

Allstate is moving forward with an “open platform” concept for repair facilities in its Priority Repair Option (PRO) program. A pilot of the application is slated to launch in early 2008.

 

The I-CAR Education Foundation, in conjunction with Akzo Nobel Coatings, Inc. and The Most Influential Women of the Collision Repair Industry, awarded scholarships to assist in the education and advancement in the collision industry to eight young women.

 

Fifty years ago today, when tailfins defined the cutting edge of automotive styling and a handful of import auto companies struggled to sell 83,000 units, Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. began marketing quality cars and trucks in the United 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).
Friday, 30 November 2007 17:00

FOX Collision Center Letter to the Industry

My name is Todd Fox. I am 43 years old and the president of FOX Collision Centers, Inc. I operate 18 auto collision repair facilities and satellites that serve a four state area. Our annual sales top $28 million. I have been in the collision repair business since I was barely eleven years old, when I swept floors in my parents’ body shop. I witnessed the “Cowboy and Indian Days” when body shop owners and insurance personnel were adversarial, rude, and, at times, eager to cheat each other out of anything and everything.
Wednesday, 31 October 2007 17:00

National Insurance Office on Horizon

The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises held the first in a series of hearings October 3. The hearing explored proposals to overhaul insurance industry regulation, including the controversial issue of whether carriers should continue to be regulated by the states or opt for supervision by a new federal agency. The proposed bill would establish an optional federal charter to be used by insurers operating under the jurisdiction of multiple states.
Stunted wage rates for the last two decades have auto repair shop owners across the state crying foul – and looking to Beacon Hill [MA State Legislature] for help.
Wednesday, 31 October 2007 17:00

Car smashed? Insurers say, Go here

Scandals with directed repair programs may shake up auto body industry practices

The Automobile Club of Southern California fired a manager in its collision repair section and began an internal investigation into the matter three weeks ago, another sign of the controversy that has enveloped the insurance industry's directed repair programs.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007 17:00

Schwarzenegger vetoes AB1483

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger returned Assembly Bill 1483 to the legislature without his signature. In vetoing the bill, the governor stated:  “While I am generally supportive of consumer protection laws, the provisions of this bill are duplicative of existing law and therefore unnecessary.  In fact, these provisions may lead to increased expenses and decreased efficiency at automotive repair dealers, which could result in reduced customer service and higher costs passed onto the consumer.”
Sunday, 30 September 2007 17:00

Fugitive Arrested In $500,000 Scam

Moshe “Sanny” Assoulin, 35, an Israeli who grew up in the San Fernando Valley, was arrested in Israel in August by Israeli National Police for insurance fraud, grand theft, identity theft and federal charges.

Total collision repair industry sales grew 5.8 percent to $40.4 billion in 2006, according to the 2007 Collision Repair Trends: Industry Statistics & Analysis, recently published by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). Independent paint and body repair shops accounted for more than half of the collision repair market at $22.2 billion.

Sunday, 30 September 2007 17:00

CRA Celebrates Its First Anniversary

The Collision Repair Association of California (CRA) celebrated its first anniversary by challenging members of the collision repair industry to take a “reality check exam.” The ten-question test is aimed at warning owners of California collision repair businesses about the bleak future that awaits them if they refuse to understand why they are losing control of their operations.

Sunday, 30 September 2007 17:00

Federal Judge Affirms State Emissions

A Vermont federal judge ruled against car companies in a suit versus the state of Vermont regarding state-mandated auto emissions standards. Car manufacturers filed the suit after Vermont issued regulations requiring reductions in vehicle greenhouse gas emission.

Sunday, 30 September 2007 17:00

Nevada Legislative Update

This has been quite the Legislative Session for the Nevada Collision Industry Association (NCIA) with both success stories and defeats. This is our second Legislative Session as an Association and we have learned that we have a lot more to learn.

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. Prior to Trade Faire, BASF hosted a free seminar to explain to attendees the new VOC regulations and their impact on auto body businesses that will be converting in the near future. 

Thursday, 27 September 2007 10:57

Labor Rate Survey Rules Dropped by CA DOI

After being presented with in-depth analysis by both the California Collision Repair Association (CRA) and the California Autobody Association (CAA) regarding the negative consequences of proposed labor rate survey rules, DOI Commissioner Steve Poizner dropped the regulations for  insurer-conducted labor rate surveys, at least for the time being. California Autobody Association (CAA) expressed disappointment...

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