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

Drivers in the city of Corpus Christi, Texas, now have even more incentive to abide by the state's car insurance mandate after local police began a new campaign this past weekend that targets the uninsured motorist problem.

Over New Year's weekend, a unit of the city's police department set up a number of checkpoints across the city where drivers were asked to show proof of insurance. If a motorist stopped at the checkpoint could not provide proof of coverage, the police were authorized to tow the vehicle to an impound yard.

For those who don't have coverage, getting caught while driving uninsured will likely end up costing much more than it would have been to simply purchase a policy in the first place. In light of this, Texas motorists may want to find and purchase a low down payment auto insurance policy rather than run the risk of large fines and potentially huge costs of causing a serious accident.

Texas Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin has announced that he will not seek another term as head of the Texas Department of Insurance. His term ends Feb. 1, 2011.

Geeslin has been with TDI for eight years, and has served as commissioner for five and a half years. Gov. Rick Perry appointed Geeslin to the post in June 2005, just months before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Texas and Louisiana coasts in August and September of that year.

Geeslin, who had served as Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the Texas Department of Insurance since 2003, found himself not only faced with presiding over one of the largest insurance markets in the nation, but directing recovery efforts in Texas for both hurricanes, as well.

In addition, a complete overhaul of the state’s workers’ compensation system was initiated in September 2005. Then, less than a year after the hurricane catastrophes, Geeslin was faced with placing one of Texas’ largest homeowners insurers, Vesta Texas Select, into rehabilitation and then liquidation.

The Texas Workforce Commission says the standard minimum unemployment insurance (UI) tax rate paid by Texas employers in calendar year (CY) 2011 will be 0.78 percent, up from 0.72 percent in CY 2010.

The taxes replenish the Texas Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund which provides unemployment insurance for Texas workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. TWC said the increase in the employer tax rate increase was necessary to offset two years of higher UI benefit payments. Taxes would have been significantly higher without the actions taken by the commission, including use of a public bond sale and suspending the deficit tax component of the tax rate.

The minimum UI tax rates are paid by 213,000 or 63 percent of all experience-rated employers. An employer paying the standard minimum tax will pay $70.20 in tax per employee in CY 2011 compared with $64.80 in tax per employee in CY 2010. The maximum UI tax rate, paid by 2.2 percent of Texas experience-rated employers, is 8.25 percent, down from a maximum rate of 8.60 percent in 2010.

Austin’s KXAN News has reported that eleven families received Christmas gifts and keys to a newly refurbished car, all for taking great care of their children.

Child Inc. enlisted the help of local car dealers and other donors to reward the parents for their commitment to raising happy, responsible and educated children.

Laurie Ann Pineda was one of them. She had been struggling to get to work after losing a child and emerging from an abusive relationship. The new car will serve as her safety net.

As people begin thinking ahead to 2011, one important change will be implemented for drivers with auto insurance. With the passage of increased liability limits in 2007, Texans will notice an increased insurance rate of two or three percent to cover the additional insurance protection in 2011.

While the two to three percent rate increase that is expected to come from the increased coverage limits is minimal, many consumers question the reason for the rising costs. According to CBS, the increase in auto insurance minimum requirements is meant to address rising medical costs associated with car accident claims. Rising medical costs, meaning the cost for post-accident medical care and treatment, have increased in recent years and, in 2007, the Texas Legislature took action in an effort to ensure that car accident victims have the proper insurance coverage.

James E. Brown, President, Houston Auto Body Association has circulated the following request from Texas DOI.

The TDI is alarmed at the practice of some Insurance companies "underpaying claimants" at drive in claims centers where it is obvious the estimate was underwritten. Leslie Hurley with the Texas Department of Insurance is requesting information from Collision Repair Centers in Texas.

Leslie Hurley is requesting from Collision Repair Centers copies of the preliminary estimates written at the claims centers and the final estimate it took to repair the vehicle (notwithstanding hidden damages).
We need everyone to participate.

  • Step 1: locate insurance estimates of your choice of vehicles repaired at you shop.
  • Step 2: rewrite the same estimate in your estimating software include all the operations performed that you did not get paid for i.e., not included operations in P-pages (prime & block, color, sand and buff, mask jambs etc..), mechanical operations paid at  body rates, and include the difference in paint materials if paint materials were capped.
  • Step 3: write a summary page titled "Manipulating repair estimating software" explaining the differences (keep it simple)
  • Step 4: mail to Texas Department of Insurance Property & Casualty Program-Personal & Commercial Lines Division

Attn: Leslie Hurley
P.O. Box 149104
Austin, TX 78714-9104