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Northeastern News

1HomePageMap small ne 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine

March 22---The New York State Senate passed three bills to combat auto insurance fraud, which costs New Yorkers more than $1 billion a year, as well as legislation that would impose stronger criminal penalties for staging auto accidents. Recent cases of auto insurance fraud have uncovered massive crime rings, including doctors, lawyers and scam artists who staged accidents and used New York's no-fault insurance program as their own giant state-sponsored, ATM machine.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Camden Iron & Metal, based in Camden, N.J., is relocating its scrap processing operations from Philadelphia to Camden.

According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the company’s decision to relocate its scrap processing operations to Camden follows attempts to relocate and consolidate operations in the Philadelphia area. The company had acquired an abandoned 44-acre facility in Eddystone, Pa., and had planned to install a large auto shredder at the location.
However, strong opposition by residents surrounding the Eddystone site bogged down the company’s plans to relocate. And, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the final decision to relocate to Camden came after Pennsylvania Gove. Tom Corbett rescinded a $31.1 million pledge made by the former governor to build a pier on the Delaware River at Camden Iron’s proposed location.

We asked John Thomas, owner of Thomas Auto Body Shop in Hingham, MA, about his company as it passes its 50-year anniversary this year. The following is an edited version of our conversation.

I attended my second consecutive AASP/NJ Northeast Trade Show, officially show number 36, on March 9 and 10 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ. As I spend more time at these kinds of events I begin to appreciated how much there is to learn in this complicated business of collision repair. It is a very educational and useful event that collision repairers should make the effort to attend next year if possible.

Parts and Service Manager Rob Cottle of Stadel Volvo in East Petersburg, PA, will again walk in an 18-mile walk in San Francisco, CA, on June 9 as part of the Out of the Darkness Overnight, an event that raises money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The goal of this journey, which will begin at dusk and finish at dawn, is to raise funds for suicide prevention, mitigate the stigma surrounding suicide and its causes, to encourage those suffering from mental illness to seek treatment, as well as to show support for the families and friends of the 30,000 Americans who die by suicide and the 20 million people that suffer from depression each year.

Cottle is asking for donations and support of this effort. Donations are tax-deductible and can be given at Cottle’s personal fundraising webpage, http://theovernight.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&eventID=501&participantID=3848

Cottle is walking as a part of the group called “Remembering Ryan”  and will be walking with his friend Debi, who lost her son by suicide four years ago.

“I hope that you’ll share this incredible journey with me—by supporting me in my fundraising efforts,” said Cottle.

The net donation proceeds will support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s programs and mission.

AFSP is a small foundation, and much of their funding comes from The Overnight.

According to AFSP, “Every dollar you raise will help you save the life of a child, a parent, a sibling or a close friend.”

For more information about AFSP, please visit www.afsp.org. For more information about the Out of the Darkness Overnight please visit www.theovernight.org.

Thursday, 22 March 2012 16:09

NORTHEAST™ Trade Show Leadership Forum

Attendance at the recent NORTHEAST trade show, at the Meadowlands in Secaucus, NJ, was up 20% from last year, which was up from the year before. Some seminars were overflow seating and organizers had to pull in extra chairs for people who were standing.

Heard and seen at the show  were some familiar figures in the industry. Several took the mike at the Northeast Leadership forum.

One person we all wanted to hear from was the owner of North State Custom, Greg Coccaro, who surprised a number of attendees with the revelation that he’s back to doing business with Progressive Insurance, despite the long and torturous legal battles between the two. Even though business is relatively slow for shops in the area, his Progressive work has actually picked up. Coccaro was told by a Progressive employee that “Progressive does not have a network of shops in New York any more, so the intense steering they practiced in this area has subsided.” Coccaro added, “I’m now repairing cars for Progressive’s customers once again.” Coccaro still  owes some $500,000 in legal fees to defend his shop’s reputation and his own name. He hopes to be able to recover his losses due to the causes of action in his pending lawsuit against Progressive.

Another engaging speaker at the forum was Tony Lombardozzi with Automotive Collision Repair Services in New Hampshire, who repeated his message of self-sufficiency for the industry and his advocacy of independence from insurers through his presidency of the Coalition for Collision Repair Excellence (CCRE). Lombardozzi put it plainly: “The insurer is not a third party to our contract with our customer and should not be involved in the repair process. What an insurer appraiser writes is meaningless. It serves no purpose in the repair process.”