Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine
Ed Kizenberger, Executive Director of The Long Island Auto Body Repairmen’s Association (LIABRA), says “Here is where the line in the sand is drawn for our industry: big shop, small shop, DRP/non DRP, it does not matter, factor out some or all of your parts profit and tell me how that contributes to your being a healthy viable collision center.
Any percentage of a smaller number results in a giveback of direct profit that comes off your bottom line and goes directly into the insurer’s pocket.
This, with a reduction in frequency and severity, should pretty much freeze our industry in place impacting our ability to attract new workers and train existing ones, invest in new equipment, maintain our facilities, etc. Mind you, the insurer’s argument will be they need to control parts to contain costs. That will help keep consumer’s premium costs “reasonable.” If this issue does not polarize and move our industry to action there will be little left to be concerned about.”
A wounded war veteran and his wife were hoping to find their stolen car but instead found support from strangers across Long Island.
Wounded war veteran Brian Martin of Coram, NY, woke up recently to find his new Jeep had been stolen from his driveway. The 25-year old, who injured his back in Afghanistan, bought the car two weeks prior with his $6,000 severance check.
Coming to their aid, the Recycled Rides program, with the help of State Farm and Long Island Auto Body Repairmen’s Association (LIABRA) member Crestwood Auto Body, donated a 2006 Chevy Impala to the Martin family.
LIABRA gives a special thanks to Chris, Sr. and staff for getting this vehicle prepared so fast for the Martin family.
The give-away was held August 8 at the VFW in Centereach. Many auto body shops and insurance companies on Long Island have been involved with this program, with more than 20 vehicles donated to veterans over the past four years.
The Recycled Rides program was started by the National Auto Body Council.
Kenny Ross Automotive Group has acquired the four-dealership Hamilton Automotive of North Huntingdon, PA in a deal worth between $8 million and $10 million.
The deal provides a second Buick franchise for Kenny Ross and adds the GMC truck, Subaru and Mazda brands to the company’s portfolio, the company said.
Hamilton’s four dealerships are along Route 30, less than a mile from the Kenny Ross flagship Chevrolet store in Irwin.
The Montclair Times has reported on Aug. 9 that a man and accomplice posing as auto body repair techs have robbed a woman in Montclair.
The Montclair police are hunting for a man who robbed a township resident in a parking lot off Walnut Street Aug. 8 and, as the suspect was fleeing, his accomplice drove over the victim's foot, sending her to the hospital, according to authorities.
AASP/NJ Executive Director has issued an open letter to the industry with the main theme of, “Don’t Insult Our Intelligence.” Writes Bryant:
There has been plenty written already on State Farm’s PartsTrader program. The fox (State Farm), via George Avery, is actually surprised that the chickens (collision repair industry members) are nervous and upset at their uninvited entrance into our coop to “fix” something that we contend isn’t broken, and at their offer that we can’t refuse…literally.
They keep telling us that this is a 'win-win' proposition. In reality, 'win-win' is an overused phrase to describe an arrangement that’s almost always 'win-lose.' There are, however, some true 'win-win' scenarios in our industry, and so it would not be fair to refute Avery’s claim without a closer look.
After an investigation by the Pawtucket Police Department, Attorney General Peter Kilmartin has announced that his office has charged Dino Coccia, 42, owner and operator of Americar Sales and Collision Center at 626 Main St. in Pawtucket, RI, with 23 counts of obtaining money under false pretense more than $500, 20 counts of unlawful appropriation more than $1,000, six counts of uttering bad checks totaling $19,700, and one count of attempted larceny more than $500.
A severe mid-summer hail storm hit central Pennsylvania on July 18 and at least one local shop expects to see dozens of hail-damaged cars over the next few months.
“The weather systems are shifting. We”ve had more severe storms here the past two years than we”ve seen since the late 50s,” said Terry Lockard, the glass man with Bob Baish Glass, Body & Paint, located at 1249 Holly Pike in Carlisle, PA. The shop is owned by Dick Baish and has been in business since 1964.
On the day of the storm, the shop saw one vehicle come in with its rear windshield broken out, and the day after the storm, the shop did 40 estimates. Two days later, in heavy rain, only five vehicles came in for estimates, but Lockard expects a deluge of customers over the next few months as people notice their cars have hail damage.
“Some people may not notice until their next car wash,” he explained. The storm only lasted a minute or two, Lockard said, but this year’s hail event caused bigger and deeper dents. “This storm was worse that the last two seasons. We had bigger hailstones, but the storm hit a smaller area on the east side of the strip.
The passage of an insurance bill at the end of New York’s legislative session in June has sparked both cheers of support and cries of opposition as Gov. Andrew Cuomo considers the proposal’s finalization, according to the Online Auto Insurance News Team.
A10784 changes rules governing policyholders’ participation in supplementary underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage (SUM), requiring now that all policies automatically include it and that policyholders can opt-out if they don’t want the added cost. Before, it was not automatically included.
Police in central Pennsylvania are investigating the shooting death of a used car and scrap dealer as a homicide.
State police in Columbia County said they found the body of shop owner Frank Spencer, 46, inside the front doorway of his home near Millville, PA, on July 3. Spencer’s body was first discovered by a friend who had stopped by the Hemlock Township home around 10:40 a.m.
On July 4, the victim’s truck was discovered in Sunbury, about 25 miles from his home. State police at Bloomsburg had put out an all-points bulletin for a 2003 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson edition truck owned by Spencer.
Edgar Rodriguez, 39, of Erie, PA had a tendency to get in automobile accidents in his 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan. Eventually the frequency and similarity of those accidents caught up with him.
Rodriguez was sentenced on June 19 for his guilty plea to running a 10-person ring that staged phony crashes and earned him and his co-conspirators over $37,000.
The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) has joined the groundswell of shops and associations in opposing State Farm’s pilot parts-bidding program.
“We are in total agreement with our fellow industry associations and members such as AASP National, SCRS, AASP/MA, AASP Illinois and the many individuals who showed up at last week’s CIC meeting in San Antonio, who are standing together to voice complete opposition to this latest intrusion into our members’ businesses,” says AASP/NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant. “We are calling for all of our colleagues across the country to speak up and voice their displeasure with a program that could potentially devastate the industry.”
Lorraine Pilitz, owner of Autotech Collision at 120 E. Merrick Rd. in Freeport, NY, was accused of submitting fraudulent records for an insurance claim in September of 2010, but a jury recently found her not guilty on all five felony counts.
A Bridgeport, CT chiropractor became the sixth health care provider to admit his involvement in a multi-million dollar insurance fraud in which medical treatment for auto accident victims was exaggerated to obtain bigger lawsuit settlements.
George U. DeCarvalho, 56, owner of DeCarvalho Spine and Rehab, 3715 Main St., pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit health-care fraud during proceedings before U.S. District Stefan R. Underhill. DeCarvalho, who is represented by Andrew Bowman, was released on a promise to appear in court for his Sept. 21 sentencing. He faces anywhere from six to 16 months in prison at that time.
The chiropractor is the fourth of that profession to plead guilty in a case the FBI dubbed Operation Running Man. FBI Special Agent Daniel Curtin is heading the probe.
William Lieberth Sr., 56, owner of Allegheny Auto Body in West Deer, PA, has been at the same location on East Ohio Street since 1976. However, he is being told he must move his shop by Aug. 6.
Mr. Lieberth is trying to save his shop.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has told Mr. Lieberth that the ongoing Route 28 expansion requires use of his building and its adjacent parking lot. The state has acquired the land through eminent domain and Mr. Lieberth is required to vacate the property by Aug. 6.
"But I have no intention of leaving," Mr. Lieberth. He says he wants to leave the shop to his son, Bill Lieberth, 34.