Southwestern News

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

Swoop-and-Squat Just One of the Organized Crash Scams in Collision and Medical Fraud

The FBI calls it “Operation Bumper Cars” and Dallas FBI agents have been infiltrating staged car accident conspiracy rings which they perceive to be a resurgent problem in North Texas, particularly for medical insurance fraud.

Farmers Group Inc. is planning on offering a new discount on car insurance policies for Texas customers who have their vehicles equipped with electronic stability control technology.

" If your car is damaged, your insurance carrier can RECOMMEND a repair shop.  But telling you that you CAN'T or SHOULDN'T go to a certain shop is illegal under Texas state law..."

Made in America is more than just a patriotic slogan. It is an opportunity to spotlight the innovation U.S. manufacturers bring to the table. While conventional paint booth companies are offering retrofitting and add-ons to adapt existing booths for spraying waterborne paint, NorAM Inc. built a booth from the ground up that did not need any changes to embrace new paint technology. And every single part is made in the USA.

The last avenue for relief from the strictures of Texas H.B. 1131 has been blocked off for Allstate Insurance Company as the U.S. Supreme Court turned down the company’s petition for writ of certiorari, refusing to hear further appeals. After nearly five years of fighting, it appears the collision industry and the state officials who supported them by banning tied repair shops in the state have prevailed. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans dismissed Allstate’s  request, saying the law did not violate the Constitution.

Todd Fox, who abandoned his 18 Fox Collision Repair shops in October 2007, filed for bankruptcy last month, claiming more than $7 million in debts but $4 million in assets. Fox appeared as required by law at a U.S. Trustee's office with bankruptcy attorney, Ed Nazar. Fox outlined plans to sell the company's equipment, real estate and vehicles to pay a list of creditors reported to be 100 pages long.         

In the Zone

Pat and Wayne Felder wanted to expand their small business, but thought using GO Zone assistance might involve too much time and federal red tape or require the assistance of a lawyer. The opportunity might have slipped away had Pat Felder not decided to look into it further. She got a summary explanation on the hurricane assistance, which convinced her to consult their accountant. He advised they use its 50% bonus depreciation incentive to build their much-desired warehouse, to do it immediately and leave the paperwork to him.

Santa Fe Chevrolet, in the Santa Fe, New Mexico, Auto Park, has taken a step to protect the environment by changing its paint system. The company’s system is now water-based rather than solvent-based.

Allstate Insurance Company has filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the Texas statute prohibiting insurance companies from owning collision repair shops. Just as children go from parent to parent to get the answer they want, Allstate has refused to accept lower court decisions, and, in a last ditch effort to own repair shops in Texas (under the Sterling banner), has asked the Supreme Court to review the previous decisions.