Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Arizona, Utah, Arkansas, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana
The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) announced August 16 the approach of its fifth annual Affiliate Leadership Conference on Wednesday and Thursday, September 22 and 23 at the Gulf States Toyota (GST) Training Center in Lewisville, Texas. The modern, state-of-the-art facility will provide a stimulating backdrop for the open discussion of activities, successes and challenges that is the conference’s hallmark.
“Our affiliate ranks recently have grown at an accelerated rate and we expect event participation to increase significantly as a result,” says SCRS Chairman Barry Dorn. “It’s exciting, because for the first time many collision repair professionals will get to witness the effective strategies that are forged when SCRS’ national perspective intermingles with the local, grass roots focus of the affiliates.”
The “ground level” industry view of the affiliates forms the bedrock upon which SCRS is formed and keeps the organization attuned to membership needs. The Affiliate Leadership Conference is perhaps the ultimate reflection of this aspect of SCRS.
Attendees gain exposure to, and learn from the experience of, their affiliate peers in other states as does SCRS. Local initiatives often contribute to the formation of solutions that can be applied elsewhere, including on the national level.
“The conference features collective insight to address issues you won’t find anywhere else, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to foster it,” says SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg. “Our affiliates and the thousands of businesses that support them want workable solutions to trying issues.
The Affiliate Leadership Conference provides the content, context and analysis to provide those answers through candid discussion bred from a forum structured specifically for our affiliate associations.”
The conference will maintain a similar proven format to previous years, with the first day featuring a focused review from each association in attendance. Local market issues and successful approaches to resolving those issues will be reviewed and analyzed through candid peer discussion.
Day two will feature updates from SCRS on its most recent national level activity, targeted discussions on prevailing industry issues, and a conversation on how SCRS can better help assist the collision repair industry. Toyota will make a presentation on Auto PartsBridge™, an electronic parts ordering system that allows body shops to send parts orders to Toyota dealers through a Web-based application.
In addition, CEICA Executive Director Fred Iantourno will join the group to share content from the CEICA Implementation Conference being held the two days preceding the SCRS conference.
“This dynamic forum for experienced affiliate leadership generates an incredible amount of useful content over the course of two days,” adds Schulenburg. “I advise anyone that hasn’t previously attended to bring a pen and the biggest notepad you can find-you will be taking a lot of notes!”
For information about the upcoming Affiliate Leadership Conference, please contact Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg at (302) 423-3537 or via e-mail at email@example.com. You may also contact the SCRS administration office at (877) 841-0660 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Northwest Louisiana Collision Repair Association held their monthly meeting on August 3 at the Shreveport, LA, Country Tavern, and discussed recycling techniques among several other industry issues.
Texas Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin issued a bulletin Aug. 2 reminding insurers writing PC insurance about their responsibilities under the state’s steering laws. The notification also specifically stated that it is an “unfair claim settlement practice for insurers to pay claimants an amount for the repair of the vehicle, including parts, that is not a reasonable amount for repairing or replacing the property with other of like kind and quality.”
According to reports made by Insurance Journal, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission has appointed John G. Franchini Superintendent of Insurance by a 4-1 vote. Franchini, a New Mexico native, boasts nearly four decades of insurance industry-related experience and said he looks to use that experience to move the Division of Insurance forward.
"I've devoted the majority of my professional life to guaranteeing and protecting New Mexico policyholders' rights with regards to their insurance," Franchini said. "As Superintendent of Insurance, I will make sure New Mexicans have the protection, cooperation and assistance of the Division of Insurance in handling their insurance questions and needs," he said.
Prior to his appointment, Franchini served as vice president of government and industry affairs for the New Mexico Mutual Group from 2004 to 2010. Before that, he was vice president of Brown & Brown of New Mexico Inc., and from 1984 to 1988, he served as president and owner of Franchini Consolidated Agency, Polson Mercer Insurance & Real Estate, Williams Consolidated, Chama Insurance Services, Consolidated Mortgage, Franchini Travel.
Production of the Tacoma pickup truck began in July but was marked August 6 with a ceremony at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas, Inc. The $100 million investment boosts total investment to $1.4 billion.
Texas Governor Rick Perry joined San Antonio community leaders, team members, suppliers as well as Toyota officials including Toyota Motor Corporation Executive Vice President Atsushi Niimi.
Tacoma’s production move to TMMTX was announced a year ago and adds 1,000 jobs. Today, over 2,800 team members are employed at TMMTX and the plant is fully positioned to ramp up Toyota’s pickup truck production for the American market.
The Texas Attorney General ordered insurer Travelers Cos. Inc. to stop running a television advertisement that he called deceptive. Attorney General Greg Abbott said that the Travelers ad improperly tells Texas homeowners that they should buy additional automobile insurance to prevent losing their homes.
“Texans are protected by robust homestead laws that insulate homeowners from the losses depicted in Travelers’ advertisements,” Abbott said in the release.
The Texas Constitution (Article 16, Section 50) strictly prohibits the forced sale of a person’s homestead except in narrow circumstances, clearly protecting homeowners from just the type of situation outlined in the Travelers television ad.
If Travelers continues to air the ad, the company will face legal action by the state, Abbott said. Abbott’s action comes two days after Texas Watch, a consumer advocacy group, asked Abbott and Texas Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin to take action against the company.
During the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Roadcheck 2010, which ran from June 8 through June 10, DPS troopers inspected 6,906 commercial vehicles.
Twenty-five percent of them, or 1,738, were placed out of service because they were found to have serious enough safety violations to be removed from service until repairs could be made.
Troopers took 160 of the drivers (2.3 percent) out of service for violations ranging from not properly tracking their hours of service to suspended, expired or cancelled driver licenses. Four drivers were placed out of service for drug or alcohol violations. Troopers issued five tickets for seat belt violations.
DPS Commercial Vehicle Enforcement troopers, along with highway patrol troopers and other inspectors who have received specialized training in commercial vehicle inspection, stopped commercial vehicles to inspect safety equipment and check driver licenses, endorsements and log books. Troopers also looked for possible drug or alcohol use.
The annual Roadcheck program stretches from Mexico to Canada.
The Oklahoma Auto Body Association may have started as a fellowship group five years ago, but today it is spending its time fighting for the rights of its collision-industry members.
“The ‘same six guys’ have always gotten together through the last 25 years and put together some sort of affiliation,” says Jeff Leatherock, President of OKABA and Owner of Hammer & Dolly Body Shop in Oklahoma City, OK. “This is the latest—and the best.”
In addition to Leatherock, these founders are Gary Wano Jr., owner of G W and Son Auto Body, Oklahoma City; Brian Shellem, Advanced Automotive Equipment and Prestige Automotive Refinishes, Oklahoma City; Chris Donnelley, Body Works, Oklahoma City; Doug Reinhardt, Car Craft Auto Body, Oklahoma City; and Mickey and Shannon Varner, Jay’s Body Shop, in El Reno, about 20 miles outside Oklahoma City off Interstate 40.
Prior to OKABA, a number of associations served the Oklahoma collision industry, including an ASA chapter and the Fellowship of Concerned Repairers of Oklahoma, or FOCRO, Leatherock says. Tulsa also has a loose fellowship, he adds.
“I believe the association can bring a united voice as well as a conduit of communication among shops, insurers, legislators, vendors, and anyone else involved in the collision industry,” says Shellem, an OKABA boardmember since 2006. His Advanced Automotive Equipment is one of the largest Celette dealers in the country, he says, and supplies a full range of equipment to the collision industry, primarily in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. Prestige provides automotive finishes to Oklahoma City shops.
Heartland Automotive Services Inc., the largest franchisee of Jiffy Lube, said it will move its corporate offices to Dallas by the end of 2010.
The company, which operates about 400 auto servicing centers under the Jiffy Lube name, said it chose the Dallas location because of its proximity to the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.
Heartland Automotive Services said that all corporate office staff will be able to stay with the company if they relocate from the current headquarters in Omaha. The company will still operate a division office in Omaha.
The move is expected to begin late summer or early fall and be completed by year-end.
Mark Croucher, an insurance agency owner in Jenks, Okla., has announced his candidacy for the office of state insurance commissioner.
Croucher, who specializes in health, life and senior oriented insurance products, began his career in the insurance industry in 1997. He has been an independent insurance agent since 2004, and established The W.H.Y. (We Help You…that's WHY!) Insurance Agency LLC in 2007.
Croucher, a Republican, said his understanding of health insurance, and concern for his fellow Oklahomans during these tough times, led to his decision to enter the race for Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner.
Croucher has worked with and trained agents throughout Oklahoma. The agency works with clients from all over the state.