Southeastern News

1HomePageMap small se 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and West Virginia

A federal judge has denied Progressive's motion to dismiss Price’s Collision Center’s tortious interference with a business relationship and breach of contract claims, which challenge improper insurance company steering and underpayment of claims.

AutoTown Insurance, an independent agency based in Norcross, Georgia, announced its acquisition of Fling Insurance Agency in Lagrange, Georgia.

AutoTown said the acquisition highlights the firm’s expansion plans outside of the metro Atlanta market. AutoTown said the acquisition of Fling Insurance, located in western Georgia, would also help the agency expand to other markets including Alabama.

Founded in 1970, AutoTown Insurance offers a wide range of personal and business insurance. It operates retail stores in Georgia and South Carolina under the AutoTown Insurance brand name.

Terms of the purchase were not disclosed. The purchase includes Accurate Autobody's nine collision repair centers in Middle Tennessee and one off-site production facility. The acquisition gives Service King 22 locations in Tennessee.

“We’re looking forward to partnering with Accurate Autobody and its pristine reputation with consumers and insurance partners,” said Mike Abbott, Market Vice President Tennessee for Service King. “Both companies share a similar commitment to quality repairs and customer satisfaction giving us great confidence in our combined teams’ abilities to deliver superior service to customers in Tennessee.”

Service King will now operate 22 locations in Tennessee. John Hughes, the founder of Accurate Autobody, along with his team members, will be joining more than 2,300 Service King teammates across the country. Hughes’ career in the auto-body industry spans more than 22 years, including a dozen years as owner of Accurate Autobody, during which time he helped it to become a positive contributor in the local community.

“I am very grateful to all of my associates for their hard work and dedication. It is their efforts that have made Accurate Autobody the industry leader in middle Tennessee,” said Hughes. “I am confident that joining the Service King team will offer many opportunities for all as they continue to grow.”

“We are extremely pleased to be able to expand our presence in Nashville. This acquisition will provide consumers more convenient access to a Service King Repair Center,” said Jeff McFadden, President of Service King. “The Service King family welcomes the Accurate Autobody team. We are excited that this growth will provide personal and professional opportunities for everyone.”

Motorists in Florida are now permitted to show proof of motor-vehicle insurance on their electronic devices, according to an article in The Tampa Tribune.

Gov. Rick Scott approved a measure allowing drivers to show their proof of insurance through cell phones, tablets and other electronic devices on Dec. 10. The law says drivers can download an application on their personal devices that lets them display a digital copy of their insurance card when pulled over by police.

Julie Jones, secretary of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, said the new policy should be in force by January.

Motorists were ticketed 326,168 times last year for driving without proof of insurance, according to Florida Uniform Traffic Citation Statistics.

But of those, 250,651 were dismissed, nearly 77 percent, usually when drivers later proved they had coverage.

The 1st District Court of Appeal ruling means that a 2012 law aimed at reducing fraud and lowering no-fault auto insurance claims has been reinstated, at least for now, by an appellate court ruling overturning a lower court decision to grant a temporary injunction against the law.

Florida is one of 10 states that uses personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance, also known as “no fault” insurance. In Florida, drivers get up to $10,000 in medical coverage without having to go to court to establish fault in an auto accident.

Florida’s Collision Repair Industry Rallies to Stop Mandatory Parts Procurement Program and Recover Short Pays