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

Immediate reform of New York's fraud-riddled no-fault automobile insurance system is needed to stop criminals from cheating the state's citizens out of hundreds of millions of dollars a year, says the New York Insurance Association, Inc. (NYIA).

In testimony prepared for delivery April 26 at the New York State Senate Insurance Committee regarding no-fault auto insurance fraud, Ellen Melchionni, president of NYIA, identifies how the broken no-fault auto laws are forcing New Yorkers to paying for the fraudulent activities of criminals. Costs are spiraling out of control because bogus medical mills and unscrupulous medical providers, predominantly in the New York City area, are billing for treatments that were never performed, unnecessary or excessive.

"Criminals are committing rampant fraud, imposing a 'fraud tax' on honest, hardworking New Yorkers," Melchionni said. "Meaningful, comprehensive reform of the laws is necessary to fix the broken system that criminals are blatantly exploiting for their personal gain. There is not a silver bullet to solve this problem. Auto accident fraud is a moving target. The state needs to be vigilant in fighting this vast problem and cracking down on criminals who have created a 'big business' of fraud to cash in at the expense of New York residents."

"NYIA supports the substantive reform introduced by Sen. James Seward and Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, S2816A/A6286," Melchionni said. "This bill contains numerous remedies including giving insurance carriers adequate time to investigate fraud, encouraging efficient and fair settlement of disputes and creating tougher penalties for fraud."

"NYIA also supports two bills that would help stop staged auto accidents," Melchionni said. "We believe the majority of staged accidents occur during the first 60 days of a newly issued policy. Sen. Martin Golden and Assemblyman Carl Heastie have introduced S4507/A6346A, which would allow insurers to cancel new policies purchased with phony checks or credit cards—minimizing the opportunity for fraud. Another piece of legislation, S1685 sponsored by Sen. Seward, was passed in the Senate and now needs to be taken up in the Assembly by passage of A6177 sponsored by Assemblyman David Weprin, to create a necessary deterrent for criminals who prey on innocent motorists by staging car crashes."

"If there is not comprehensive reform, we are concerned that the present crisis will become progressively worse, leading to a system that is not only broken, but beyond repair," Melchionni said.

The New York Insurance Association (NYIA®) is a state trade association that has represented the property and casualty insurance industry for more than 125 years. For more information visit www.nyia.org.

SOURCE New York Insurance Association

On March 16, 2011 the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) held its Annual Awards Banquet at the Crowne Plaza Meadowlands in Secaucus, New Jersey. As always, the highlight of the event was the presentation of the SCRS Industry Awards, through which the Society recognizes those that demonstrate outstanding service and achievement within the collision repair industry.

“Two Hawaiian words characterize these awards and their recipients,” explained Dale Matsumoto, chairman of the SCRS Awards Committee. “The first, ‘aloha,’ is familiar to us as a greeting and farewell; but it also can be used to mean the giving of one’s self-a lifestyle encompassing a life of giving, sharing, caring and love.”

“The second, ‘kina’ole,” means flawless-as in doing the right thing for the right reason with the right feeling. Most individuals can, and will, do the rights things; but it is the deep feelings in our heart that makes us to things, for the right reason. This year’s winners embody the meaning of both these words.”

Below is a summary of this year’s awards, their recipients, and the achievement being recognized.

The New Jersey Green Automotive Repair Program (NJGARP) announced in September that the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) joined them as a new organizational partner.

The NJGARP program, launched in April 2009, encourages the State’s automotive repair facilities—including dealerships, independent shops and, soon, auto body shops-—to implement environmentally-friendly business practices and become certified as “green” businesses.

“AASP/NJ is very proud to join with the other organizations in NJGARP as a partner in promoting environmentally-sound business practices within the body repair industry,” said Charles Bryant, Executive Director of the AASP/NJ. “The group has done tremendous work in its first year and I know that our members will be committed to helping promote processes that are good for the environment, good for consumers and good for business.”

Citing statistics that show highway fatalities increased in Pennsylvania last year, AAA Mid-Atlantic has urged area lawmakers to support proposals that would strengthen teen driver and seatbelt laws and ban texting, according to reports made by Pennsylvania's Montgomery News.

“There is legislation in Harrisburg that we’ve been urging legislators to support,” Rick Remington, AAA’s Philadelphia manager of public and government affairs, said.

Specifically, AAA Mid-Atlantic urged Southeast Pennsylvania legislators to support House Bill 9, introduced earlier this year by state Rep. Kathy Watson, R-144.

The bill would expand training requirements before a teenager could take a test for his or her license, increasing behind-the-wheel training from the current 50 hours to 65 hours. Ten of those hours would have to be at night and five of those would have to be during inclement weather, according to Watson’s proposal.

House Bill 9 also would limit the number of teen passengers to one in a vehicle operated by the holder of a junior driver’s license, those ages 16-1/2 to 18, with exceptions for family members.

PPG has named Miller Auto Parts & Supply Company, Inc., as its 2010 Platinum Distributor of the Year. The award was announced at PPG’s annual Platinum Distributor Conference, Feb. 24-27 at Loews Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando, Fla. Charlie Lightner, president of the Huntingdon, Pa.-based distributor, accepted the award on behalf of the company.

“I am extremely elated and very proud of our entire organization and thank PPG for this award,” said Lightner. “I attribute our success to our two general managers, Jamey Robertson and Jim McGonigle, and our 250 employees. They’re very knowledgeable and we get tremendous support from everyone at PPG. This is wonderful recognition for everyone’s efforts.”

Bob Wenzinger, director of the PPG Platinum Distributor program, presented the award to Lightner.

Friday through Sunday, March 18–20, body shop owners and operators and their mechanical counterparts met at the 34th annual Northeast™ 2011 show at the Meadowlands. Northeast™ is the region’s largest automotive repair show with hundreds of booths on exhibit.