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Southwestern News

1HomePageMap small sw 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Arizona, Utah, Arkansas, ColoradoTexas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana

Eddie Lennox, Founder, Chairman of the Board, and CEO of Service King Collision Repair Centers, the nation's largest employee-owned operator of collision repair centers, announced new leadership appointments of the company on January 4. Lennox announced that Service King's President, Cathy Bonner, is the new Chief Executive Officer. Lennox will continue as Chairman of the Board of Service King.

Lennox said, "Service King has the best leadership team in the collision industry. Cathy Bonner has added seventeen new locations now covering 70% of the Texas population." Lennox added that Bonner's next goal is to lead the second growth phase making Service King a national company by adding assets beyond the Texas borders.

Moving into the President's role is Chris Abraham, currently Vice-President of the Houston Market. Jeff McFadden will take the role of Executive Vice President.

Also joining the executive leadership team in new positions are Eileen Clark, Chief Financial Officer, and Michael Devendorf, Chief Operating Officer.

"This is the future leadership of Service King and I am so excited about the possibilities for us," said Eddie Lennox. "This leadership team has combined, over one hundred years of corporate business experience."

The city of Houston delayed voting on an ordinance to regulate the automotive repair and service industry affecting every type of business that touches a car, whether it’s a body shop, an independent auto repair shop, a dealership or a big store like Wal-Mart. The council rescheduled the vote for February 15, 2012, after more issues were raised at a hearing held on December 20, 2011, when the council was originally supposed to vote on this ordinance.

This delay presents some new problems to both sides lobbying over the bill--they now have an entirely new city council, sworn in January 3, 2012, to update on the issues.

A new list of council members by district can be seen by clicking HERE, find out which district you reside in by visiting http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/2011/index.html. The Houston Auto Body Association (HABA) would like its members to reach out to the new council and make sure their opinions on this matter are heard.

Kathryn van der Pol, Past President of ASA, Houston Chapter, and co-owner of Adolf Hoepfl & Son Garage, is working with the HABA on writing their own version of the ordinance, incorporating what's good about the City's version to present to the new council since Houston Mayor Mayor Annise Parker, wants to pass an ordinance on this issue. Mayor Parker also made some changes to the ordinance, and the version that will be voted on February 15, 2012, can be viewed in its entirety by clicking HERE.

The Northwest Louisiana Collision Repair Association held their November monthly meeting at the Country Tavern Barbecue in Shreveport, LA on November 1 at 6:30 p.m.

The Houston Autobody Association (HABA) hosted a fundraiser and reception held for Texas Senator Mike Jackson (R-La Porte) on November 30 at 6 p.m. at the Cadillac Bar and Grille in Houston, TX.

All automotive industry businesses were invited to attend and support Jackson’s campaign for election to Congress next year. Jackson has represented constituents in the Senate District 11, which includes portions of Brazoria, Harris and Galveston Counties, since 1999 and served in the Texas House for ten years before that.

Jackson, who has introduced several automotive industry bills in the past, announced his bid for the Republican nomination in the newly created 36th Congressional District seat back in August.

“Mike Jackson has always been a strong advocate for the collision industry and small business; he understands that there needs to be checks and balances between the Collision Industry and the Insurance Industry,” said James Brown, President of the HABA, “We endorse him as a candidate for the US Congress seat he is running for. In speaking with Senator Jackson last night, he assured me his priorites were going to be the same as they were in Austin, but hopefully on a national level in the next election.”

As a limited government conservative in the Texas State Legislature, Jackson has received numerous awards for his leadership, including: 2011 Champion of Small Business from the National Coalition for Capital (NCFC); 2011 Taxpayer Advocate Award from Texans for Fiscal Responsibility; 2010 Citizen of the Year Award from the Southbelt-Ellington Chamber of Commerce; 2009 ABC Free Enterprise Champion from the Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas; and 2009 Champion of Free Enterprise from the Texas Association of Business.

Jackson is a member of the Texas State Rifle Association, multiple area Chambers of Commerce, and is a licensed pilot. His hobbies include hunting, fishing and riding his Harley.

Please visit: www.mikejacksonforcongress.com for more information.

John Borek, General Manager of Autocraft Bodywerks in Austin, Texas, has filed a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance against American National Property and Casualty Company (ANPAC) and a claims services company, American Claims Services, alleging that they “knowingly used a fraudulent document to justify their short-pay” of a claim.

Borek said his shop submitted supplements on the claim to ANPAC through American Claims Service, which denied payment for color sand and buff, sending the shop a document it said was from Audatex showing that procedure as included in 2-stage refinish formula.

Borek said he filed an inquiry with the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG), and Audatex, after searching the shop’s “Database Reference Manuals” back to 1993. Borek said he had never seen the supposed Audatex document before being presented with it from ANPAC. The DEG stated that the document is “most certainly not from ADP/Audatex.” (The actual Audatex manual shows color sand and buff as a not-included item.)

“Color sand and buff has been a pet-peeve of mine since 1998, and I know it’s not included in any paint time,” Borek said. “But how many shops are being sent incorrect information about things like this and not knowing any better?”

The Texas Department of Insurance is now investigating ANPAC for using a supposedly fraudulent document. According to Borek, ANPAC has said they will pay the supplement now, but he has not seen any payment since reporting the findings to the DEG.

In filing his complaint with the Texas DOI Property and Casualty Complaint Department, Borek wrote: “We believe that based on this document, ANPAC/American Claim Service is knowingly using a fraudulent document to justify their short pay to limit the price paid for repairs to [the] automobile.  By not performing these necessary operations, it will result in an incomplete repair.  I have spoken today with the field appraiser assigned to this file and he confirmed that he put the needed repair operations on the original estimate (see Exhibit G-3) although a document generated from ANPAC/American Claim Service shows a zero by all these operations.

“As resolution to this complaint, please take the necessary enforcement action against ANPAC/American Claim Service for what are appears to be deceptive trade practices.

“I have attached the following exhibits and contact numbers for your review:
“Exhibit A: Request to the database enhancement gateway to verify validity of document ANPAC/American Claim Service provided.
“Exhibit B: Document from ANPAC/American Claim Service stating they are denying payment for needed operations due to document they claim came from Audatex.
“Exhibit C: Document ANPAC /American Claim Service provided that misrepresents material facts.
“Exhibit D: Email from Audatex Manager, Robert Sandkaut, stating Exhibit C is not from Audatex.
“Exhibit E: Correct database reference manual  from Audatex.
“Exhibit F: Email from the database enhancement gateway stating that Audatex will be contacting American Claims Service and sending them a current copy of the database reference manual.
“Exhibit G-1 through G-6:  Last supplement from ANPAC/American Claims Service.
“Exhibit G-3: Supplements, 4 from ANPAC/American Claims Service listing the needed operations as zero on their estimate and that they are included in two stage refinish which is a material misrepresentation.”

You can view the full text of these documents by clicking HERE.

Borek says he has spoken to the claim representative, the field appraiser, and the Texas Field Supervisor for ANPAC about this incident. “I have attempted to contact American Claim Service who will not take or return my phone calls.”

“It’s just amazing that these insurance companies will do this,” said Borek.

The city of Houston is moving to enact an ordinance to regulate the automotive repair and service industry that would regulate every type of business that touches a car, whether it’s a body shop, an independent auto repair shop, a dealership or a big store like Wal-Mart. The mayor has set the vote for Wednesday, Dec. 21, the last City Council meeting of the year, and after this issue goes to press.

“While this ordinance has good intentions, it paints the entire industry with one stroke. The proposed ordinance stems from an effort to eliminate a problem that comes from a small percentage of unscrupulous collision-repair shops, which is one segment of the automotive repair trade. This attempt at a solution will wrap an already difficult business in more red tape,” says Kathryn van der Pol, Past President of ASA, Houston Chapter, and co-owner of Adolf Hoepfl & Son Garage, which has been in business since 1946.

Writing in the Houston Chronicle, Van der Pol says there are some good features for the consumer in this ordinance:

“The ordinance will require all auto-repair facilities to post their license number on their advertising and invoices so that the consumer will know which companies are city-licensed repair facilities.

“It will also require auto-repair facilities to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. Currently, there is no local or state law that requires a repair shop to have insurance. In an uninsured shop, car owners are liable for anything the garage owner does with their car. Good shops already purchase insurance, but virtually all shops that lack integrity will also lack insurance.