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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

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.

Thursday, 08 July 2010 18:44

Heartland Automotive to move HQ to Dallas

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.

According to reports by the Associated Press, General Motors Co. said June 17 that it will keep most of its U.S. factories, including the Arlington Assembly Plant, open through the normal two-week summer shutdown to meet demand for some of its vehicles.

The automaker will keep nine of 11 assembly plants open to make 56,000 more vehicles that are in high demand, such as the Buick LaCrosse luxury sedan and the Chevrolet Traverse large crossover vehicle.

GM said in a statement that the company is trying to reduce waiting time for dealers and customers to get vehicles.

In addition to Arlington, plants that will stay open from June 28 to July 9 are located in Bowling Green, Ky.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Hamtramck, Mich., Kansas City, Kan.; Flint, Mich.; Delta Township, Mich.; Lansing, Mich.; and Wentzville, Mo.

Automakers have traditionally shut down plants for short periods during the summer while switching production of model years and to manage vacation time for workers.