Wednesday, 24 September 2014 00:00

ABAC Regroups for Fall 2014

After taking a break for the summer, the Auto Body Association of Connecticut (ABAC) gathered on Tuesday, September 9 to begin the fall season with their Quarterly Membership Meeting. The Country House Restaurant in Foxon was filled with association members, prospective members and guests who gathered for an evening of industry education and networking.

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In opening, ABAC President Tony Ferraiolo presented the meeting agenda and expressed gratitude to the meeting’s sponsor, Richard Chevrolet, and co-sponsors, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Paint World and Zephirblue LLC – ZB Negotiations. Ferraiolo also thanks the supporting advertisers for ABAC news as well as the association’s yearly corporate sponsors.

The evening’s presentations began with Kevin Linsky from Enterprise Rent-A-Car discussing the company’s ARMS program, a website application that allows collision repair facilities to communicate electronically with Enterprise’s rental branch. The program is designed to benefit collision repair facilities by directly sending repair status updates to Enterprise, allowing the shop to enter vehicle status information at their convenience, reducing or eliminating the need for multiple status requests via phone or fax, and by ensuring that correct and consistent information is relayed to the insurance companies. Because the ARMS program is web-based, it relies solely on internet access and does not require additional software to utilize it. Enterprise representatives will train collision repair shops at no cost, and interested facilities should contact their local Enterprise office for more information.

The next presenter was John Walczuk, Director of ZB Negotiations, who provided attendees with a brief introduction to his company and what they do. As a total loss vehicle settlement negotiator, Walczuk and his company use their knowledge of and experience with the collision repair industry to negotiate for fair market valuation settlements for total loss vehicles. With Walczuk acting as representative, ZB Negotiations will negotiate directly with the insurance company on their client’s behalf; however, this service is offered on a contingency basis only.

Then, CCRE President Tony Lombardozzi discussed the many lawsuits currently underway across the nation in his typical no-holds-barred manner that has made him an interesting and welcome addition to industry events for many years. Lombardozzi was followed by John Parese, Legal Counsel for ABAC, who covered a plethora of topics, including video/phone estimating, safety concerns, underpayments, violation of insurance laws and more.

The meeting concluded with the main presentation, led by the following representatives from General Motors: Jeff Shaw, GM Wholesale Specialist; Tom Seagrave, Wholesale Specialist; Patricia Lukes, DM Wholesale Parts; and Jim Mickle, GM Parts Training. All attendees received a disc containing the presentation and other information designed to aid the collision repair facility, such as GM Patent Body Parts information and Position Statements.

Shaw began the presentation by describing several of GM’s current programs, specifically Bump the Competition, Collision Link and the new Body Part Patent. Mickle then took center stage to discuss a wide variety of topics pertaining to collision repair information. The GM presentation was made possible through the efforts of Ron Vernick, Parts Manager at Richard Chevrolet.

The ABAC is grateful to the presenters and attendees who took time to be present at their meeting, and Ferraiolo hopes “the education received will ultimately help you moving forward in your business.”

Next up, the ABAC eagerly awaits the final appeal in The Hartford class action lawsuit, originally filed 14 years ago, which will be heard in October by the Connecticut Supreme Court. Stay tuned to Autobody News to learn how it all plays out!

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