Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and West Virginia
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John Mosley, who owns and operates Clinton Body Shop Inc. in Central Mississippi, has been outspoken in his opposition to PartsTrader, State Farm's Parts Bidding program. He has written an open letter to Consultant George Avery of State Farm.
Dear Mr. Avery,
I write you on behalf of the entire collision repair industry.
My name is John E. Mosley and I own and operate Clinton Body Shop Inc. and Clinton Body Shop of Richland in Central Mississippi. I am a proud member of the Mississippi Collision Repair Association and a member of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists.
Our industry has been paying a lot of attention to your affiliation with the PartsTrader program and the potential impact it may have on our industry and ultimately the consumer.
Many of us in the collision repair industry admit we have become dependent on direct repair programs over the last several years. Now that you have released this program as a pilot in some states, our first reaction could only be described as fear and shock.
It would suffice to say that the emotions of fear and shock have served to make shop owners including myself think about what the repair industry really means to you and your company as a whole. This program is now serving as a catalyst to both ignite and unite this industry in a manner I have never experienced in my 58 years.
For your assistance in making this industry I love think about being better business people and better neighbors to our competitors, I sincerely thank you. The employees of the collision repair shops thank you in advance. I, as well as many others, have now begun to look at my business model in a different way. We are now realizing the true value the repair industry has been to your company and our customer. You have far less employees in our area and, I would suspect, most areas of the country. You haven’t needed them as we do a lot of the work for your company. We haven’t minded providing this service and savings to you because the Select Service program has helped each shop by saving time waiting on appraisers. In the past, the Select Service program has allowed the shop to determine what type of part and which supplier would serve to properly repair the vehicle in the least amount of time. This process was beneficial to all three parties involved in the process. The three parties I speak of are the customer, the repairer and State Farm Insurance.
After lengthy discussions with shop owners and parts suppliers in Alabama, I see no way this program is a benefit to the repair shop or the consumer. The underlying purpose of this program is for State Farm to make a higher profit at the expense of the collision repair industry and the parts industry. You present this program as a tool of efficiency serving to expedite repairs. I ask you, do you think that little of repair shop owners' and managers' mentality? How can any program that adds to the administrative process by gathering bids, waiting for those bids before we can begin repairs, only to be waiting again when we have a supplement, add to efficiency? There is no way.
It is both disappointing and quite frankly shameful of you to attempt this manipulative assault on our industry. This industry has formed bonds of good faith and friendship with many within your company. Our industry will work to preserve and strengthen those bonds with the State Farm agents and employees with whom we have formed these mutually respectful relationships.
The collision repair industry is not your enemy. Neither are we your puppets or your children. You can’t successfully threaten us or punish us into submission by removing us from the Select Service list if we refuse to participate in this one-sided, unfair program.
I ask you and the others in managerial roles who have control of this situation to stop and reconsider the effect this pilot program is having on your company and our industry. These same effects are being felt by consumers who don’t deserve it. Stop and think about the most powerful companies that have fallen in recent years. Think about WorldCom, Enron and the other Wall Street giants who no longer exist. Think about how the government had to bail out General Motors. Think about the enormous unrest you are about to release in your industry as well as ours. This in itself will be a huge cost to your company. Just as sure as there may be some shops waiting to take advantage of a shop’s removal from the Select Service program, there are insurance companies waiting to take your unhappy customers.
Your company made itself successful and famous by promising to be a good neighbor. Good neighbors don’t take these type of actions against others without regard to the resulting consequences. Everyone wants to make a profit. Money can be a dangerous thing. It can blind a person to the point they can’t see right from wrong. When that happens to a large company, it is called corporate greed. Don’t fall any deeper into this than you already have. Please stop, think and let’s work together to help our industries benefit the customer without destroying the very core of this country, the small business person.
I write you this plea as a business owner and a member of the collision repair industry. No other business has conspired or construed with me to contact you. I am not asking you to think what you are about to do to me or my business, but to my brothers in this industry. Make no mistake, we are a brotherhood. Because of this program, we are quickly forming stronger bonds than you or I would have ever imagined. You may have your way with some of us, but rest assured, the majority of us are educating and preparing for business life off your programs if you continue. Do you really want to do this to our industry? Can your company survive the negative publicity this will ultimately create? Is this fair to the State Farm agents who have truly been good neighbors?
As this program hasn’t been released in our area, it is my desire to keep our shops on the Select Service program. We will continue to make good repairs and provide excellent service to our mutual customer and to hold ourselves up to a high professional level in all our mutual relations. If you decide otherwise, we will continue to build our relationships with our local State Farm agents, their employees and our State Farm customers. There are no bad feelings toward our local claims people. They are good people doing what they are paid to do.
There is a big difference in being mad and being disappointed. We hold the hope and faith you will do the right thing. I just wonder when and at what cost.
John E. Mosley
CC Attorney General - Jim Hood
Ms. Insurance Commissioner - Mike Chaney
Anthony Simon PLLC
State Farm Claims Vice President - Susan Hood
Six people including two Mount Pleasant, SC men were sentenced in federal court for their roles in an auto loan scheme involving more than $800,000.
A judge sentenced William Brian Toadvine, 34, and Donald Toadvine, 58, to two years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release after both were found guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
The Collision Repair Education Foundation’s 2012 Ultimate Collision Education Makeover $50,000 school grant application is now available online and two grants (one secondary, one post-secondary) will be awarded this year. The winning schools will be announced during SEMA 2012. As part of the Makeover grant application, schools provide their own itemized wish list, which can include any tools, supplies and equipment that are needed by the collision program. Each of the winning schools will have their $50,000 wish list fulfilled through the Collision Repair Education Foundation and through industry donors/supporters. The application is available at the Education Foundation’s website (www.CollisionEducationFoundation.org), and must be completed by August 31, 2012. Instructors are advised to begin the application process early and industry professionals are encouraged to get involved with the Makeover grant by working with their local schools’ collision instructors to help them apply.
Bus manufacturer Blue Bird Corporation received the Extra Mile Award from the Middle Georgia Clean Air Coalition for their commitment and success in bringing alternative-fueled school bus transportation to the market. The award recognizes organizations that improve Georgia’s air quality while advancing economic, environmental and energy security.
Students from different schools in Alabama recently participated in a welding competition at Gardendale High School in Jefferson County.
The 2012 SkillsUSA welding contest was held with 20 students and instructors from 12 districts competing for the state championship. The state championship will eventually lead to a national championship.
A vacant former car dealership in north Bibb County is becoming a new body shop. Minnesota-based ABRA Auto Body & Glass bought the 20,129 square-foot former BMW dealership at 111 Riverside Parkway in Macon, GA, and spent nearly four months renovating the building, said David Kulkis, regional business development director in Atlanta.
As addressed in prior press releases and communications to repairers nationwide, Ray Gunder of Gunder’s Auto Center has been pressing insurers to provide full compensation to his customers for processes and materials necessary to properly and thoroughly repair his customer’s vehicles. As a result, his customers have received full compensation each and every time, but still, at times, the nation’s largest insurer continues to deny consideration for the very same things that they have paid for in the past
Ray Gunder stated: “I’ve heard that one definition of ‘insanity’ is “To do the same thing repeatedly while anticipating a different result and I guess I must be a bit crazy because I have found that State Farm will deny one customer for the very same procedures of which they have agreed to provide to another only a week earlier!?
Gov. Rick Scott signed off on a bill reforming Florida’s auto insurance system Friday, finalizing a contentious debate around the now-approved law that overhauls how the state compensates providers and policyholders for crash-related injuries.
Legislators passed the reform bill in early March by an 80-34 vote in the state House and a 22-17 vote in the state Senate. That compromise bill followed battles in both state chambers over how to improve the state’s personal injury protection (PIP) coverage system that reimburses policyholders for post-crash medical expenses regardless of who was at fault for the collision.
The law’s proponents say it will save taxpayers money because it will reduce the rate of insurance-related crime, and insurers will, in theory, pass savings from reform onto drivers who search for Florida car insurance with lower premiums.
Opponents say that the reform measure severely undercuts the value of PIP coverage by restricting the amount that can go to treating nonemergency medical conditions to a total of $2,500, barring massage therapists and acupuncturists from receiving PIP payments and covering only treatments that start within the first 14 days of a crash.
The governor signed the bill into law at an event in Jacksonville, Fla., saying “I am glad to do my part in keeping the cost of living low in Florida.”
The governor’s office cited statistics from state regulators showing that the number of crashes in the state declined as the amount of PIP payments increased 66 percent in 2006-10.
“These claims have caused auto insurance premiums to burden Florida families,” the governor’s office stated in a release coinciding with the signing ceremony.
New Conditions for PIP Medical Treatment
The new law institutes reforms that tighten restrictions on the kind of medical treatment a person receives under PIP coverage.
Previously, PIP covered up to 80 percent of medical expenses, up to 60 percent of lost income and up to a $5,000 death benefit, up to the policy limits. Reform supporters said this setup was too wide, leading to a rising number of phony claims and, ultimately, higher insurance premiums for everyone in the state.
Medical care providers previously covered by the state’s no-fault coverage included acupuncturists, massage therapists and other nonemergency medical professionals.
The law now eliminates services like massage therapy and acupuncture from benefits eligibility, requiring specific accreditations of facilities, hospitals and physician-owned clinics where policyholders can receive PIP-covered medical treatment. The law also requires policyholders to receive their initial treatment within the first 14 days after a crash if it is to be covered.
More than 60 people attended the Collision Industry's Legal Seminar held recently in Lakeland, Florida. Attendees came from Oregon, Minnesota, New York and many other states to hear information shared by Ray Gunder, Bret Geohagan (legal counsel for Gunder’s Auto Center, Inc.) and Barrett Smith of Auto Damage Experts, Inc.