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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

Two new bills filed by Larry Cernosek with the Houston Auto Body Association on February 24 are aimed at requiring liability carriers to pay for the towing and storage of a vehicle when they are at fault. This would take this financial burden off of the shop. The bills were filed with the Texas Senate and should take effect in September of this year.

The Houston Auto Body Association (HABA) hosted a legislative breakfast event on February 16 at the Capitol Grill in the Texas State Captiol.

Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) filed a new bill, S.B. No. 476, on February 1.

The bill would change current tax laws by reclassifying auto repair as a whole as a “retail trade” entity.

According to ASA Texas, automotive repair and collision shops owned and operated by new or used car dealerships are taxed at half the rate used to tax the independently owned shops doing identical work under current Texas Franchise Tax Code.

This is justified in the tax code by classifying dealership sales as “retail” and allowing their service and repair business to be included under that banner.

The Houston Auto Body Association (HABA) held their monthly meeting on February 1 at 7:00pm at Russell and Smith Collision Center in Houston.

Part of the night’s agenda was to have an open discussion with the 25 or 30 members in attendance and the HABA Board Members about conducting a labor rates survey in the Houston area and which company should do this.

“We are currently getting bids from independent survey companies to conduct a labor rate survey in Houston and surrounding areas,” said HABA’s President, James Brown, “We strongly disagree with the insurance industries determination of what the prevailing rate is in our area.”

Freezing temperatures, snow and sleet pummeled parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana as it made its way northeast earlier this month. The storm hit hardest from January 31 through February 3 and again on February 9 and 10, although the threat of snow loomed through the area for most of the month.

In New Orleans, a mix of rain and sleet fell on the city's northern districts and outlying neighborhoods. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency January 27 in anticipation of the weather, activating the state's Crisis Action Team to monitor possible hazardous conditions that could affect parts of the state. State government offices in 55 Louisiana parishes were closed on January 28 because of the wintry weather, according to reports made by CNN.

The snow hit hardest in Oklahoma, as residents continued to slowly dig out of 20 inches of snow, sleet and ice that shut down major interstates and forced the closure of airports, businesses and schools.

New Okalhoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak appointed Randy Brogdon to the Deputy Insurance Commissioner Consumer Affairs Division in early January. Brogdon quickly found that the Oklahoma Insurance Department's (OID) anti-fraud division spent most of its time looking at citizens allegedly committing fraud, not insurance companies allegedly committing fraud. Brogdon's main focus is the anti-fraud division.

Commissioner Doak felt that the Oklahoma Insurance Department had "lost sight of its core mission," according to Public Information Officer Shawn Ashley.

The 10th Annual International Mobile Tech Expo was held at the Richard Borchard Fairgrounds in Robstown, Texas, last month.

January 20 was education day , while January 21 and 22 held the expo itself. January 23 also held a few classes as well as the 2nd Annual MTE Golf Outing at the NorthShore Country Club in Portland as a wrap-up for the event.

On display at the expo was a complete array of new products, services and business opportunities that automotive appearance specialists are looking for.

The Northwest Louisiana Collision Repair Association had Caddo Career and Technology Center speak at their January meeting about their job shadowing program.

Caddo looks to place interns in their auto collision and automotive technology programs into positions in the field while in their junior and senior years at the school. The job shadowing program allows students to be an apprentice for a day at a local participating business and hopes to place students with those businesses for a more long-term study.

Buddy Anderson with the Caddo Career & Technology Center was at the NWLCRA meeting and said Caddo received great support from the local Collision Center's for the job shadowing program. Caddo would like to speak at NWLCRA meetings at least 3 more times before the end of the year to promote more Shops to get involved. The purpose is to have a student from the Caddo Career & Technology Center go to the participating Shop (Collision, Automotive, Glass, etc.) and "shadow" someone by being an apprentice for a day.

Texas Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin issued a biannual report on DRPs in Texas earlier this month, the report is derived from claims and issues in the industry, some brought to light thanks to surveys issued by the Houston Auto Body Association (HABA), to make future legislative recommendations.

A statement issued by Commissioner Geeslin back in August set the scene for the recommendations made in this bulletin. In the statement Geeslin addressed all ... insurers writing property and casualty insurance in the state of Texas, agents and representatives when he said, "The purpose of this bulletin is to remind insurers of their responsibilities to claimants regarding payment for damage to a motor vehicle and the selection of a repair person or facility ... The Department has received information which causes it to be concerned that insurers may be providing claimants with additional notice regarding motor vehicle repairs that may be in conflict with the TIC and TAC." The full text of this statement can be seen at

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.