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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

The Florida Collision Industry Legal Seminar was a resounding success! The event began promptly at 11:00 AM on April 14 and continued until well after 6:00 PM that evening with  a couple of short breaks and a 45 minute lunch. Many new friendships were forged with others who shared the same views and concerns.

Over 60 people attended the event from as far away as Oregon, Minnesota and New York and many states in between, and based upon the reports received throughout the day, they were encouraged by the information shared by Ray Gunder, Bret Geohagan (legal counsel for Gunder’s Auto Center, Inc.) and Barrett Smith of Auto Damage Experts, Inc.(ADE).

In a poll taken during the initial introductions, the one recurring motivation for most everyone’s attendance was to learn how to regain control of their business and its profitability.

“From discussions during the meeting and during breaks, the State Farm Parts Procurement program seemed to be one of the straws straining the camel’s back and collision repairers ‘are mad as heck and are not going to take it anymore’ and are seeking alternative methods of operating their businesses” said Ray Gunder.

“We were asked by many in attendance if we could “take the show on the road” stated Barrett Smith of ADE, and in discussing with Ray and Brent, while humbled, we agreed that if there was enough interest in any given market to arrange the travel and accommodations, we would gladly consider sharing the message with others”

Barrett went on to say: “There’s a significant thirst for this knowledge as industry professionals are just plain tired of the status quo and struggling to keep their businesses viable”. “Repairers Spend So Much Time Taking Care of Business, They Often Fail To Take Care of Their Business.”

Paul Hawks, owner of Bernie's Body Shop in Lakeland, Fla., is using a limited power of attorney signed by his customer and has filed a breach of contract suit against Progressive Insurance Co. on behalf of his customer, a Progressive policyholder who asked that his name be withheld.

The lawsuit is the result of the nation's fourth largest personal auto insurer's refusal to pay for repair-related body materials. The insurer's position is that body materials are not reimbursable because they are part of a repairer's "cost of doing business."

"It's most unfortunate that a repairer must take these legal steps but the under-payments and non-payments are continually increasing as insurers squeeze consumers and their repairers," Hawks said.

"I'm sick of being intimidated by insurance companies. While rent, lights, advertising and such are (the cost of doing business) body materials are not?"

Hawks' shop is in Lakeland, the same city where Gunder's Auto Center is located.

Ray Gunder, owner of Gunder's Auto Center, has successfully sued insurance companies in similar lawsuits. See related stories or search "Gunder" on

Gunder and Barrett Smith of Auto Damage Experts, conducted a free legal seminar to help collision repairers recover the full costs required for a proper and thorough repair. The seminar was at 11 a.m. April 14 in Lakeland. See story this issue.

Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens invites you to attend one of his REGIONAL JOINT Meetings of the following committees.

  • Life, Annuity, and Long Term Care Insurance Stakeholder Advisory Committee
  • Health Insurance Stakeholder Advisory Committee
  • P&C Insurance Stakeholder Advisory Committee
  • Safety Fire Stakeholder Advisory Committee

Wednesday, 05-09-12 @ 9:30 a.m. – Macon (Location To Be Announced Soon)
Wednesday, 05-09-12 @ 3:00 p.m. – Albany (Location To Be Announced Soon)
Thursday, 05-10-12 @ 3:00 p.m. – Statesboro  (Location To Be Announced Soon)
Friday, 05-11-12 @ 10:00 a.m. – Atlanta (Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner)

Need more info? Contact GCIA Executive Director Howard Batchelor at 770-367-9816 or email at

The I-CAR vision is that every person in the collision industry, current and future, has the necessary knowledge and skills relevant to their position to achieve a complete and safe repair.

In 2011, the collision industry provided $4.1 million in support to secondary and post-secondary collision students and their school programs through the Collision Repair Education Foundation.

The Atlanta Golf Tournament Fundraiser event is a major fundraiser and proceeds support secondary and post-secondary collision students in the greater Atlanta area.

I-CAR’s mission is that I-CAR will be the leader in research, development and delivery of quality, convenient, cost-effective educational programs for the collision industry. For more information on I-CAR please see the website at

Collision Repair Education Foundation Tournament Fundraiser Info

Wednesday, April 25th
Registration: 10:00am – 12:00pm
Shotgun Start: 12:00pm
The Highlands Course at Lake Arrowhead
(770) 479-5500
Waleska, GA 30183

I-CAR is hosting the annual golf tournament to express appreciation to their industry business partners. They would like to offer you the opportunity to join them by sponsoring. Download the Sponsorship Form – click here.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012 14:57

Georgia Labor Rate Survey Complete

The Georgia Collision Industry Association (GCIA) recently completed their 6th Annual Labor & Materials Rate Survey for Metro Atlanta. The Survey was conducted by CSi Complete to ensure unbiased data collection. CSi Complete is a provider of customer satisfaction indexing to collision repair, insurance companies and other service industries and you can learn more information about the company by visiting their website at

Go to GCIA website for results

I-CAR is hosting their third annual Atlanta Golf Tournament event; a fundraiser where proceeds support secondary and post-secondary collision students in the greater Atlanta area. I-CAR encourages you to learn more about this important fundraising event and participate and/or sponsor.

The Collision Repair Education Foundation Tournament will take place Wednesday, April 25th. Registration is from 10:00am - 12:00pm, Shotgun Start at 12:00pm at the Highlands Course at Lake Arrowhead in Waleska, GA. More information about the course can be found at or by calling (770) 479-5500.

In 2011, the collision industry provided $4.1 million in support to secondary and post-secondary collision students and their school programs through the Collision Repair Education Foundation.

Through monetary and in-kind product donations, the 2011 Collision Repair Education Foundation donors helped to provide student scholarships, student tool grants, school equipment and supply grants, the 3rd annual Ultimate Collision Education Makeover school grant, and much more. Since 2008, when the Collision Repair Education Foundation became a purely philanthropic organization, the organization has provided $7 million in school and student support through industry donors.

Registration Forms & Fees are due no later than April 20, 2012.  Checks can be payable to: Collision Industry Foundation. Please email forms to David Kulkis at Please contact David to pay by credit card at (770) 714-6352. If you would like to mail your payment please contact Lee Sullivan at (678) 206-5214 for address. If you have any questions please contact David, Lee or Jerry Poirier at (404) 886-3487. To download a copy of the registration flyer please click HERE.