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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

The Texas Legislature May 31 passed a measure that requires regulation and approval of property and casualty certificate of insurance forms provided to insureds as proof of coverage.

Insurance agents traditionally have been asked to provide the certificates to insureds and interested parties. As a result agents are often brought into disputes over policy terms and coverages because of language contained in the certificates.

Under Senate Bill 425 only approved certificate of insurance forms may be issued to an insured. It prohibits a property/casualty insurer and agents issuing certificates of insurance or other documents intended to be used as proof of coverage “if the certificate or document alters, amends, or extends the coverage or terms and conditions provided by the insurance policy referenced on the certificate or document.”

Penalties may be determined by the Texas Department of Insurance for noncompliance, and TDI may collect a fee of up $100 for the filing of a new or amended certificate of insurance form.

The legislation was backed by agents’ groups, including the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas.

Other states, including Georgia, have been working on similar bills to regulate insurance certificates within their respective states this year as well.

The Houston Auto Body Association hosted their first annual Body Shop Owners and Managers Appreciation event at the Cadillac Bar in Houston on May 19 at 7 pm.

The event drew about 150 in attendance according to HABA’s President James Brown. HABA decided to host this event in lieu of their monthly members’ meeting this month in order to show prospective members and local industry people more about the organization and their members’ interests. The event was such a success that the HABA has decided to conduct the event annually.

“The HABA wanted to host this event to show our appreciation to the body shop owners and managers in Houston and the surrounding areas,” said Brown. “We also wanted to provide the opportunity for everyone to see what the HABA was all about in a fun and relaxing atmosphere.”

The association also had six new shops sign up for membership after attending the event.

For more information about the Houton Auto Body Association please visit www.habaonline.org.

The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition for high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians.

The Oklahoma state championships were held in Okmulgee at the end of April, and students from local schools were able to walk away as winners--some with a ride to the national portion of the competition in-hand.

The competition tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities with a written test as well as a race against the clock to diagnose and properly repair intentionally “bugged” vehicles.

Each year, Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee is the host for this statewide contest. This year’s contest brought together juniors and seniors from 10 technology centers across Oklahoma.

This year’s first place winning team was from Moore Norman Technology Center in Norman. Students Lathan Springer and Donovan Peters, along with instructor Lee Dow, made up the winning team. They will represent the state in the National Hands-on Finals in June at Ford Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

Although hail that came through central Texas in late April was much appreciated by firefighters fighting fires throughout the state, local auto body repair shops were unexpectedly inundated with work following the storm.

Lines started forming early April 25 at auto repair shops, as thousands of cars in Abilene got hammered with hail on April 23 and 24.

Reports ranged from pea to softball sized hail in the part of the state west of Dallas.

Abilene fireman J. Sanders reported the damage done to his station's SUV to Abilene's KTXS News, including a cracked window, cracked paint, several large dents and it even hit the GPS antenna.

"I parked it under a mesquite tree," Sander told KTXS News, "but the tree is half gone."

Wade Keeling told KTXS News he had already been waiting 4 hours to get broken windows fixed on his truck with no guarantee he would be seen, "It's very frustrating."

Abilene Auto Glass, one of many repair shops in town, estimated they would see more than 400 cars the week following the storm.

The cause of a fire at North Tulsa auto body repair shop remains under investigation after it was sparked at the business on April 20.

Tulsa Fire was dispatched to the shop at 1:30 am on April 20 at 46th Street North and Peoria.

Firefighters were able to contain the non-injury fire from spreading and most of the damage was to the inside of the shop.

A small window had been broken in the building, leading firefighters to believe the cause of the fire may be suspicious.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Insurance Commissioner John Doak announced plans to revamp how insurance fraud is investigated and prosecuted in Oklahoma.

“Our two offices are statutorily bound together when it comes to investigating fraud,” Doak said. “By working together, we can improve the investigation and prosecution of those who perpetrate fraud and better protect insurance ratepayers.”

Pruitt and Doak’s offices have begun analyzing how best to coordinate resources and refine the process by which both offices initiate, prepare and complete claimant fraud investigations for prosecution.

The Insurance Department intends to focus on higher-level fraud and other insurance crimes committed by agents and company executives that costs Oklahoma’s ratepayers millions of dollars annually. The Attorney General’s Office will expand prosecutions and investigations of claimant fraud.

“I want to make Oklahoma a dangerous place to be an insurance criminal,” Doak said. “If you are an agent or a company executive who is violating the trust of Oklahoma’s insurance consumers and the laws of this state, you can expect to be investigated and prosecuted by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and the Attorney General’s Office.”