Tuesday, 07 June 2011 15:35

California Autobody Association Holds Quarterly Meeting in San Diego

The California Autobody Association Board of Directors met on May 14th at the Holiday Inn on the Bay in San Diego, CA. This was the 2nd quarter board meeting for 2011, the first was held in Sacramento in February.

The CAA began the meeting by announcing their new endorsed insurance broker for CAA members, Owen-Dunn. Tim Dickison with Own-Dunn discussed the partnership with CAA and their commitment to providing CAA members with competitive pricing through approved carriers, along with superior risk and cost containment support services. CAA members can contact Owen-Dunn when their Workers Compensation and Liability Insurance comes up for renewal. Tim can be contacted at 916-993-2755 or timd@owendunn.com.

Tony Endres with Furnace Dynamics reported on the status of Rule 1147 which currently affects the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) but could be addressed by all the districts throughout California and would include body shops. Rule 1147 is a retrofit rule that is designed to lower NOx emissions on a wide variety of sources to specific ppm levels. These levels are determined by the type of equipment and the temperature of operation. The CAA has been working with various groups, including Tony, and will be working with others to make sure the industry conforms to reasonable emission limits.

Verifacts Automotive spoke about their new program for CAA members titled “Business Ethics and Integrity with Emphasis on BAR." The objective is to train and empower shops to have the highest level of ethics and integrity and to differentiate them in the eyes of consumers, government, and insurance companies. CAA and Verifacts will be sending out additional information about these programs.

Membership Committee reported that they are working on an addition for the website which will include a specific area where the top ten regulations and procedures that shops in California should be aware of, top ten employment law regulations, and the top ten OSHA laws and regulations will be posted. These will also include forms to assist the shops.

The Education Committee discussed all the current education forums that are out there for the industry and will be evaluating those that the CAA can partner with.

The Technical Review Committee (TRC) suggested that CAA start putting all “manufacture recommended procedures” on the website to assist members in accessing the information. Also, the group discussed spray outs and how these should be in the procedures. In addition, adhesion promoter was discussed and checking the paint manufacturer guidelines. Also, put out information to members on aftermarket parts and how they are defined in the DOI regulations.

Concerns with state budget issues also came up, considering that the state legislature may look at other ways to raise revenues including tax reform proposals that would require small business to withhold 3% of payments to independent contractors and/or extend the sales tax to automotive services (labor). CAA will continue to monitor the state budget negotiations.

Aftermarket Crash Parts Certification legislation is likely to be introduced this year but at this point the CAA has not received any specific language from proponents. They will continue monitoring these issues very closely and will report when there is more information on possible legislation.

Below are the bills that CAA has been actively monitoring.
1) SB 869 (Yee)- Automotive Repair Dealers. Support. This bill increases the penalties for automotive repair dealers that a charge for a replacement of a deployed airbag but fails to repair and restore airbag as provided for in the estimate. Status: Senate Floor.
2) SB 211 (Emmerson)-Tire Inflation. Support. This bill would authorize a tire pressure gauge used to meet the requirements of the California Air Resources check and inflate tire regulations be accurate within a range of plus or minus 2 psi. Status: Senate Appropriations.
3) SB 631 (Evans)-Insurance Commissioner: violations: remedies. Support. This bill would authorize the Insurance Commissioner, in the exercise of his or her discretion to take enforcement action, to impose upon an insurer, licenses, or other entity or person subject to the commissioner’s authority specified remedies, either by way of settlement or following a hearing, whenever the commissioner finds that there has been a violation of an applicable insurance law. Status: Senate Insurance Committee; testimony taken; further hearing to be set.
4) AB 1098 (Hagman)-Insurance: Unlawful Practices. Watch. This bill requires an insurer, upon a written request by the DOI, to disclose to the DOI that it has denied a registered auto body shop for participation in the insurer direct repair program. Status: Assembly Appropriations.
5) AB 1330 (Furutani)-Graduation requirements: Career technical education. Support. This bill would give students the option to take a course in career technical education (CTE), for purposes of fulfilling the high school graduation requirements. Status: Assembly Appropriations.

The CAA continues to work closely with the California Insurance Commissioner and key staff to address issues facing the auto body industry, including reasonable estimate adjustments, labor rate surveys, steering, aftermarket crash parts and fair claims settlement practices. The Department has reviewed these and other related issues and has made recommendations to the Insurance Commissioner who is currently reviewing and analyzing the information for himself. The CAA is expecting to be meeting again with the Insurance Commissioner and his staff and assist in any way to address issues facing consumers and the auto body industry. The CAA will be providing updates as developments occur.

Newly elected Governor, Jerry Brown has not finished making all his appointments to various state agencies, boards and commissions including the Director of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the BAR. In the meantime, Governor Brown’s team has been working closely with prior administration staff and expects that the BAR will continue to place a very strong emphasis on protecting the consumer in the automotive repair market. The CAA is still working closely with the BAR on issues facing the industry including unlicensed automotive activity. The BAR is moving forward with cite and fine authority for unlicensed activity. The BAR has indicated that they have conducted undercover sting operations and there will be media reports in both northern and southern California regarding unlicensed repair shops.

For more information please visit www.calautobody.com.

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