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Western News

1HomePageMap small w 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in California, NevadaOregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, Alaska and Wyoming

Charlotte-based Maaco has acquired 1-Day Paint & Body Centers of Torrance, Calif., for an undisclosed sum.

During a meeting with the area State Farm Estimatics Manager, Ron Reichen, President of Precision Body and Paint in Beaverton Oregon, chose not to re-negotiate his company’s Select Service agreement with State Farm Insurance, the nation’s largest personal auto insurer—a relationship which lasted over 17 years and of which accounted for $2 million dollars in business over the past year.

“It was actually a business decision we had been considering for some time” stated Reichen. “Discussions came to an impasse over fair and reasonable rates and allowances for aluminum repair.  Our terminating the Select Service agreement stems from our company being a certified Tesla repair facility and the investments in time, equipment, training, specialized equipment and facilities which we could not offer for the rates State Farm was willing to pay. This will no doubt enable our company to re-evaluate and revise our pricing on other goods and services for the other manufacturers of which we are a certified repairer for including Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Nissan, Volvo, GM, Chrysler and several others.”

Along with all other insurers, State Farm has paid Precision’s posted aluminum labor rates in the past. With Precision being the only certified Tesla repairer in the state, it is believed that with its growing popularity and its all aluminum construction, that State Farm has now elected to deny Precision’s aluminum rates under the Select Service Program.  As a result, like all other insurers, State Farm will no longer be provided the concessions (e.g. storage) Precision offered in the past.

Reichen stated: “While insurers continue to adjust their rates based upon economic pressures; as vehicle technology advances with new sophisticated metals, manufacturing and repair techniques, repairers, party to such programs as Select Service are precluded from keeping pace with their increasing costs. We found attempting to do so, while maintaining the highest level of quality and service, to be both unreasonable and unsustainable, and as a business decision we elected to resign from the insurer’s program.

“This was Precision’s last insurer Direct Repair relationship, and as in the past, we will continue to work with all insurers on our customer’s behalf. Precision is committed to its customers and our community and will continue to work diligently to serve them with the highest quality repairs and service in an expeditious manner regardless of which insurer is involved.”

Thursday, 24 October 2013 11:54

19 arrested in Arizona's Operation Tin Man

State and local authorities served search warrants at several locations in Phoenix, Coolidge and Tucson as part of a 15-month investigation into an alleged auto theft ring.

According to authorities, car thieves took stolen vehicles to the "Hendrix & Co." salvage yard where the cars would be reduced to scrap, no questions asked.

"They provided opportunities for people that steal cars to dispose of those vehicles," said DPS Capt. Bruce Campbell.

"Word gets out... if you've got stolen silverware, people know where the crooked pawn shops are. Same thing with recyclables and salvage yards."

15 search warrants related to the Hendrix company were served at businesses and homes. Investigators raided three scrap yards in Phoenix, one in Coolidge, and one in Tucson.

About a dozen people were arrested. It's not clear if the owner of the company was one of those arrested. Hendrix, located at 9th St and Broadway, has been in the area for years.

"Specifically the investigation targeted trafficking in stolen property, fraudulent schemes, money laundering, narcotics sales, conspiracy, and operation of a criminal enterprise," said Robert Halliday, DPS.

The Phoenix Police Department says multiple agencies participated in the investigation dubbed Operation Tin Man.

Those included the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the state Automobile Theft Authority, the state Attorney General's Office and the county attorney offices for Maricopa and Pinal counties.

The sheriff's offices in Pima and Pinal counties and the Glendale and Goodyear police departments were among agencies that helped execute the warrants.

More arrests could be on the way. The investigation is ongoing.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed Assembly Bill 841 (AB 841), which would require a scrap metal recycler to pay for the purchase of scrap metal by a check mailed to the seller. The bill was designed to help prevent theft by eliminating cash transactions.

Brown explained his decision in a public letter acknowledging that theft of nonferrous metals is a problem throughout the U.S. but current laws should be enough to reduce the problem, including four bills he has signed in the last year on the topic.

“Existing law requires that a seller wait three days before receiving payment for metal materials, a written record of the transaction, the name, driver’s license number, license plate number, thumbprint of the seller and a photograph or video of the seller and the material being sold. How much more do you need?” said Brown.

Brown said the state should focus more attention on enforcing current laws before implementing new ones, a statement that received praise from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) in Washington, DC.

“Gov. Brown correctly pointed out that the problem is not a lack of metals theft laws, but a lack of enforcement,” said Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. “Scrap recyclers across the country are working on a daily basis with law enforcement, prosecutors and legislators on ways to reduce thefts. We will continue our efforts to curb these thefts that are harming communities.”

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill  60 which allows undocumented immigrants to apply for and receive a driver's license.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones thanked Governor Brown for signing into law AB60 (Alejo), which will allow any resident to apply for and receive a driver license if they are able to show appropriate identification and receive proper training and education. Commissioner Jones issued the following statement.

“Assembly Bill 60 will improve safety on our roads by allowing all properly trained and tested individuals, regardless of their immigration status, to qualify for a California’s drivers’ license. Over a million newly eligible drivers will now get tested in order to get a license, ensuring that they know the rules of the road. We know that properly trained drivers who know California’s rules of the road are safer drivers and involved in fewer collisions. This makes driving safer for all of us.

Allowing these drivers--who are already on our roads without a license and without any testing -- to get a license will also increase the likelihood that they will get auto insurance, which they are separately required to do. Many who are not able to get a license now also decide to forgo auto insurance because they figure why bother since they are already driving illegally. Bringing these people out of the shadows and allowing them to apply for a license increases the likelihood they will also get insurance.
Fewer drivers operating without insurance and lower accident rates could lead to auto insurance savings for all consumers.
Having supported this important reform for years now, first as an Assemblymember and now as Insurance Commissioner, I applaud the Legislature and Governor Brown for making our roads safer for all Californians by enacting AB 60."

The California Department of Motor Vehicles estimates there are likely more than two million unlicensed drivers on California roads. They also estimate that 1.4 million individuals will become licensed pursuant to AB 60. The insurance industry estimates approximately 15 percent of all drivers are uninsured. A significant number of these uninsured vehicles are operated by those without legal immigration status, as prior to AB 60 the undocumented were prohibited from obtaining a drivers’ license.

AB 60 will take effect no later than January 1, 2015.

An Oakland man suspected of beating and robbing an auto body shop employee who was giving him a courtesy ride home Sept. 28 was arrested Oct. 1 after he returned to Alameda Collision Repair to collect his damaged car, KPIX Channel 5 reported.

The suspect was captured on surveillance video and shop employees alerted police to his return, KPIX said.

Meanwhile the robbery victim remains hospitalized. Friends of the young man told Alameda Patch that he is undergoing surgery for a fractured jaw.

The suspect had taken his vehicle to the shop at 1911 Park St. on Sept. 28 for an estimate and then asked for a ride to his home in Oakland, Police Lt. Jill Ottaviano said.

After they reached Oakland, the customer attacked the driver, who is an Alameda Collision Repair employee, and stole money from him, she said. The amount stolen was not reported.

The driver was taken to a local hospital for treatment. His injuries are not life-threatening, Ottaviano said.

The incident is considered a strong-arm robbery and reportedly no weapon was used, she said.

The incident is being investigated by the Oakland Police Department, she said. Alameda police are assisting with the investigation.