- Steps To Collision Repair Apprenticeship (September 17, 2012)
- AYCE Student Hiring Event Success (September 17, 2012)
- Collision Repair and The Ontario College of Trades (September 17, 2012)
- PLEASE REMEMBER KYLE HICKEY (September 17, 2012)
- Ottawa Catholic District School Board Fined $275,000 After Classroom Explosion (September 17, 2012)
- CHEMtrac and EASR Reporting offered by CIIA (September 17, 2012)
- AFTERMARKET AUTO LIGHTING COMPANY FINED $1.5 MILLION (September 17, 2012)
- Are you getting the Association magazine? (September 17, 2012)
- Statement Regarding the Collection and Reporting of Repairer Business Data (September 17, 2012)
- Caution with the Hyundai Veloster Turbo's Matte-black Paint (September 17, 2012)
- "The Outage was Unavoidable…." (September 17, 2012)
- Cars Now Talking with each Other (September 17, 2012)
- CIIA Newsletter September issue is out. (September 17, 2012)
- Are you getting the Associations Magazine?
- Legislative Committee hears of insurance premium differences (August 13, 2012)
- Incentives and Training subsidies and grants. (August 13, 2012)
- Average 226 Vehicles Stolen each Day in Canada (August 13, 2012)
- Transcript of CIIA presentation to MPP Standing Committee on Insurance. (August 13, 2012)
- Legislative Committee advised by FSCO that insurance costs are substantially down (August 13, 2012)
- Intact Financial Corporation up $85 million in last quarter (August 13, 2012)
- City of Hamilton reports car theft rate of 334 per 100,000 people (August 13, 2012)
- Insurance Rates Unaffected by Drop in Car Thefts (August 13, 2012)
- TOW TRUCK CHASING COMING UNDER FIRE IN HAMILTON (July 29, 2012)
- TORONTO CHEMtrac SHOP REPORTING STILL POSSSIBLE (July 29, 2012)
- CASIS and VSP- initials that can help your shop (July 29, 2012)
- ONTARIO APPRENTICESHIP DATA SHOWS DISTURBING TRENDS ( July 29, 2012)
- CIIA OFFERS 21 ONLINE COURSES FOR $3.00 EACH (July 29, 2012)
- STANDING COMMITTEE HEARS COLLISION REPAIR INDUSTRY REPORT (July 29, 2012)
- And what would happen to an Alberta collision repair shop when their cloud-based estimating stopped? (July 29, 2012)
- Statement Regarding the Collection and Reporting of Repairer Business Data (July 29, 2012)
- Outage was unavoidable says information provider (July 29, 2012)
- BASIC ESTIMATING COURSE OFFERED IN AUGUSTLAST CHANCE THIS YEAR, (July 29, 2012)
- Drive Clean Program Emissions Benefit - Heavy-Duty Diesel Vehicles - 2009, 2010 (July 8, 2012)
- Drive Clean Program Emissions Benefit Analysis - Light-Duty Vehicles and Non-Diesel Heavy-Duty Vehicles - 2009, 2010 ( July 8, 2012)
- TORONTO AUTOBODY REPORTING EMISSIONS DEADLINE IS NEXT WEEK CHEMtrac reporting due by July 3, 2012( July 1, 2012)
- MINISTRY SURVEY SHOWS POSITIVE STORY IN SHOP PRACTICES (May 28, 2012)
- 2012 AYCE PRE-APPRENTICESHIP TRAINING FOR AUTOBODY AND COLLISION REPAIR
- FUSOR WELD BONDING AND RIVET BONDING TRAINING MARCH 7TH
- HARA AND I-CAR CANADA SHARE COURSE ACCREDITATION
- NATA AND CIIA PROVIDE UPDATE ON THE CASIS VECHICLE SECURITY PROFESSIONAL PROGRAM...
- THE TORCH HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY PASSED AT JERRY'S AUTO COLLISION IN BEAMSVILLE
- THE NEW CANADIAN AUTO RECYCLERS ENVIROMENTAL CODE (CAREC)
- GRAND OPENING OF THE NEW AUTO 53 CSN COLLISION REPAIR LOCATION IN HAMILTON
- BIRCHMOUNT COLLISION TO DONATE $10 PER CAR TO CANADIAN CANCER SOCIETY
- ASSOCIATIONS REGISTRY WORK SAVES SHOPS $2 MILLION
- COLLISION REPAIR LABOUR DATA INQUIRIES GET FAST RESPONSE- CIIA ONTARIO
- APPRENTICES FOR HIRE
- VOLVO SERVICE MANAGER BULLETIN
- MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT PROPOSES A NEW REGISTRY PROGRAM FOR COLLISION REPAIR...
- GUIDE TO COMPLETE REPAIR PLANNING WORKBOOK AVAILABLE
- 17 NEW AUTOBODY PRE-APPRENTICESHIP GRADUATES
- AUTO BODY SHOPS APPEAL GOVERNMENT FOR HELP
- CASIS AND AIA CANADA SIGNS CASIS AGREEMENT
- AFTERMARKET GRASS-ROOTS TRADE ASSOCIATIONS KICK OFF MAJOR PROPOSAL FOR "RECYCLE...
- CANADIAN AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE INFORMATION STANDARD (CASIS) IMPLEMENTED ON...
- MANDATORY ENVIRONMENTAL TRAINING
- BECOME A MEMBER AND RECEIVE A FREE WHMIS DIGITAL PACKAGE
- NATA SIGNS VOLUNTARY AGREEMENT WITH CANADIAN AUTO MANUFACTURERS
- THE CASIS AGREEMENT
- CARS ESSENTIAL SKILLS PROJECT SURVEY
Average 226 Vehicles Stolen each Day in Canada (August 13, 2012)
The latest vehicle theft statistics now available for 2011 show there were a reported 82,000 motor vehicle thefts in Canada last year, which is 226 vehicles stolen each day. The rate of motor vehicle theft has declined 12% from 2010, and is 56% lower than 10 years ago. The report was released by Statistics Canada.
Legislative Committee advised by FSCO that insurance costs are substantially down
In testimony to a Standing Ontario Committee, Mr Philip Howell, CEO of the Financial Services Commision of Ontario and Mr. Tom Golfetto, Executive Director of the auto insurance division of FSCO, laid out some dramatic insurance company cost decreases between 2010 and
2011. They testified that:
The difference in per car costs to the insurance industry from 2010 to
Accident benefits per vehicle (Down from $764.21 to $300.19)
Medical coverage per vehicle (Down from $271.14 to $99.21)
Attendant care cost per vehicle (Down from $94.53 to $36.84)
Housekeeping costs per car (Down by $62 to $8.58)
Medical examination costs per car (Down from $195 to $82)
Most insurers are expected to ask for permission to lower premiums, but
have not done so to date.
(Source- HANSARD Legislative Assembly Ontario, July 9, 2012 minutes)
Intact Financial Corporation up $85 million in last quarter
Intact Financial Corporation reported their operating income for the quarter ended June 30, 2012. It was $180 million, up $85 million compared to the corresponding quarter of last year. Net operating income for the first six months was $359 million , up $162 million from the previous year.
"The initiatives we undertook over the last year, notably in home and auto insurance, continue to deliver substantially-improved operating results which reduced the financial impact of declining interest rates and the volatility of the equity markets" said Charles Brindamour, CEO of Intact Financial Corporation.
City of Hamilton reports car theft rate of 334 per 100,000 people
That's nearly 1, 700 stolen cars. This is down slightly from the year 2010.
Only car owners inBrantford are more likely to be victims, with a rate of 523 car thefts per 100,000 people.
Six Nations Police community services officer, Derrick Andersen says that last year 594 stolen vehicles ended up in Six Nations, up for 443 vehicels in 2010. This year, so far, 330 stolen vehicles have been
found in Six Nations.
Insurance Rates Unaffected by Drop in Car Thefts (August 13, 2012)
According to a recent Toronto Star article, dramatic declines in car theft will not likely translate into cheaper car insurance. Diligent police work and new anti-theft devices have cut car thefts by half or about 9,800 cars per year in the greater Toronto area.
But when it comes to insurance, neatly a third of all car owners already pay nothing and those that do, pay little for it.
The average premium for what's called comprehensive coverge- everything from theft to broken glass-was only $107 per car in Toronto ,Peel and southern York regions in 2010 down from $134 in 2006
This compares with a total average premium of $1877 per car in the Toronto area in 2010, according to the General Insurance Statistical Agency.
TOW TRUCK CHASING COMING UNDER FIRE IN HAMILTON
Police and Licensing officers are starting to have an impact on tow truck chasing activities and anti-solicitation efforts are starting to work.
In May of 2012, the City of Hamilton passed a by-law to license all tow vehicles. This by-law came just after criminal charges were laid against a "chaser” and two collision shops relative to active accident scene solicitation efforts and allegations that vehicles were damaged by the shop in order to increase an insurance company pay-out.
Complaints form the public about accident scene solicitation prompted enforcement action.
Hamilton already has an anti-solicitation by-law that prohibits persons from making representations at or near motor vehicle accidents. This anti-solicitation bylaw also applies to collision shop representatives that show up in cars and solicit at accidents.
In the last five weeks, Hamilton Police have laid five charges against persons who were identified as soliciting at accident scenes. These charges must be addressed in the courts, rather than issue a simple ticket.
TORONTO CHEMtrac SHOP REPORTING STILL POSSSIBLE
Although the cut-off date for reporting by collision repair and auto bodyshops of their auto refinish emissions was July 3, 2012, the City of Toronto is still accepting reports from shops.
The CHEMtrac reporting is an online report sent to the Public Health Department that identifies emissions form auto refinish operations such as:
VOCs from spray painting
Nitrogen Oxide from booth heat emissions
Manganese from welding operations
Solvent use emissions
Sanding particulate emissions
If the shop’s business does not generate a "threshold” level on these emissions then the shop must just report the emissions over the threshold. For many shops this means VOCs from painting and from solvent use must be reported.
The current CHEMtrac reporting forms can be complex. For assistance in meeting this requirement of the City of Toronto jus call your CIIA association for help. We are using a simplified reporting structure for CHEMtrac that has been approved by them.
Our number is 1 866 309 4272
ONTARIO APPRENTICESHIP DATA SHOWS DISTURBING TRENDS
After waiting for Ontario’s Apprenticeship Branch to provide accurate autobody and collision damage repairer data for many years, your association was finally able to obtain the data through direct intervention at the College of Trades.
What the data shows (and the entire report is available at this link), is that the number of new entries into the trade since 2007 is relatively steady, while the number of graduates also remains the same at around 20% of those that were registered. A poor final result in apprenticeship is an immediate cause for concern, as it shows that there are serious problems within the system and with employers that need to be rectified. Only 2 out of every 10 new excited, interested apprentices ever make it to being a tradesperson.
At the same time, the report highlights that "challengers” - those who have accumulated the time working illegally in the trade and then are allowed to sit the final exam, represent almost as many finalists as those going through standard apprenticeship.
As well, the report shows that almost 1000 autobody and collision repair apprentices are still on the books in Ontario, but not in the formal system. So where are they?
For more information, please see this link
CIIA OFFERS 21 ONLINE COURSES FOR $3.00 EACH
CIIA has over twenty online training courses, for member shops that work out to less than $3.00 each. Included in the courses are Bill 168 Violence in the Workplace training, Hoist safety and Isocyanate training.
For more information just call the association office at 1 866 309 4272
STANDING COMMITTEE HEARS COLLISION REPAIR INDUSTRY REPORT
The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs with membership from all three MPP parties at Queen’s Park met today to hear testimony on insurance premiums levels and how to reduce them.
The collision repair industry was invited to make a presentation to the Committee relating to abuses within the insurance claims systems and on how "kick-backs”, discounts and rebates within the insurance and repair business impact consumer premiums.
In testimony to the Committee, John Norris of the Collision repair trade association , CIIA, carefully outlined what happens at an urban motor vehicle collision and the aggressive activities that occur immediately after the collision.
Norris outlined how the "tow chaser” works and the activities of representatives from treatment centres that show up at the scene. He outlined how some tow firms can cause more damage to the vehicle in order to get a higher commission. A commission that the repair shop must now try to recapture using stolen or used parts, rather than new parts , along with extra fees and charges. Treatment centres with $2000 commission payments for tow operators to entice accident victims into expensive treatment plans.
The report examined payments from insurers to backyard or illicit repair facilities. Some of those repair facilities, paid by insurers, were actually oil and lube shops, that repaired the vehicles so badly that the insurer was forced to buy back the repaired vehicle and scrap it.
Poor and inadequate labour rates paid by insurers, leads to inability of the shop to provide the properly trained technicians and up-to-date equipment needed to successfully bring a very technically-advanced vehicle back to pre-accident condition.
Committee members asked numerous questions about the presentation, particularly the issue of insurers with dominant marketplace presence, using that dominance to force an up to 10% rebate from shops in order to continue doing the insurer’s work. Other concessions were often demanded. As well, Committee members were surprised that some insurers were strong-arming shops to use only suppliers for parts for the repair that the insurers dictated. Those parts firms that were picked by the insurers are the only firms that shops can now buy from and those suppliers can pay up to 3% fee back to the insurer.
The Committee asked if these rebates are used in inter-insurance company billing or included in a rate determination schedule by insurers, as those issues can misinterpret data used to set premium rates.
Members of the Committee were very interested in continuing these discussions and a number of meetings have been arranged with individual Committee members.
For a copy of the Standing Committee presentation, please see the online version of the Committee hearings at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario‘s web site, or contact the association at 1 866 309 4272
but the motor vehicle registry and land titles data were not available until earlier the next week.
And what would happen to an Albera collision repair shop when their cloud-based estimating stopped?
Shaw Communications of Calgary is taking an explosion and fire on July
11 at their downtown Calgary headquarters seriously, says CEO Brad Shaw.
No one was hurt in the explosion but critical phone and computer lines were cut including Alberta government computer systems maintained by IBM.
Three radio stations wer knocked off the air, 911 service in Calgary stopped and some banking services were cut.
Most services were restored in two days, but the motor vehicle registry and land titles data were not available until earlier the next week.
Statement Regarding the Collection and Reporting of Repairer Business Data
(July 4, 2012 )The issue of data ownership is of ever-increasing importance to both consumers and businesses as technology expands the landscape of digital trade, and the collision repair industry is not immune to concerns relative to ulterior use of business generated data. During the past several decades, the estimating and management system companies have increased their product offerings beyond core estimating and management functions for repair facilities. Their scope of services presently includes the collection, generalized aggregation, analysis, and sale or provision of repairer data to third parties. Collision repairers contend that:
- The collection of data is unilaterally demanded as a point of sale requirement for every estimating system option offered in the market, barring repairers that wish to provide electronically generated estimates from having the option of keeping their business data from being utilized for unauthorized purposes.
- The information that is harvested from the collision repairer's system is being used for purposes other than those that the subscriber had intended when contracting to use the estimating system software.
- The information is used by secondary customers in ways that may ultimately be detrimental to the subscribing end-user who generated the data.
When this issue was first broached several years ago, one primary response on the part of the estimating system providers was that the only data being captured was that obtained via the upload of Direct Repair (DRP) estimates, and those end-users had implicitly waived any data ownership rights by agreeing to upload estimates as a condition of their participation in the (DRP) program. They also claim that no privacy rights have been violated since the information is all collected in a depersonalized manner, and presented as an overall aggregation of data collected. While we continue to contest the validity of both positions, the advent of cloud based platforms has expanded the data collection potential to include any businesses utilizing the server-based programs. It has also expanded the potential of data mining from only estimating programs to the possible inclusion of information generated from business management programs or other technology based service platforms.
The Information Providers may seek to reassure the collision industry that they have taken all necessary steps to safeguard repairer/consumer information from data privacy breaches. While the data may remain safeguarded from threats in the traditional sense of electronic security, the members of the collision industry remain concerned that the information is not necessarily safeguarded from the technology firms themselves who have built in contractual permissions to force the industry to permit utilization of the data in ways that were not intended or expressly approved by their customer base. We believe it is long overdue for our industry to have the express option to either "Opt In" or "Opt out" of allowing technology firms to have access to ancillary uses of our data as a point of sale requirement to utilize the necessary tools once intended to aid the industry in running our businesses.
This statement serves as a public request from the collision repair industry to Audatex, Mitchell and other technology firms who collect data. The industry seeks removal of contractual clauses within End User License Agreements which require permissive access to aggregate and collect end-user data as a point-of-sale requirement to purchase those programs. Further, we believe that if a business is to permit their data to be mined, they should be entitled access to an annual report specifically indicating where that data was used, and a list of parties that received reports utilizing data from the user's system. We believe the ability for businesses to choose participation in the data collection process is a reasonable solution, and we look forward to your response.
For more information, contact:
John Norris, Executive Director, Colision Industry information Assistance
Phone: 1-866-309-4272 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Outage was unavoidable says information provider (July 29, 2012)
Yesterday I called my cable television, internet and home telephone phone provider. I was greeted by an automated phone message advising me that due to systems problems my phone company was unable to answer the phone.
I received a call from my cell phone provider to tell me that my credit card pre-authorized payment did not get processed. Not surprisingly, when they were using a credit card number that I do not own. Will I give them the proper card number over the phone. NO. I will call and give it to you, but when I did, my cell phone provider, advised that it would take 20 minutes just to input the information (bad day there evidently) so I asked them to call me back. They didn’t. When I recalled them, gave them the proper card with a payment on the card, I asked for a copy of the transaction. Sorry. My communications company, staff is not allowed to communicate by any means with customers. -so no receipt possible.
Last month our association lost internet use for 11 days while our internet provider was involved in a massive system failure that turned my internet modem into a phone modem. To be fair they are reimbursing us for all our IT costs during this IP "rotation”.
If this was a collision shop being locked out of internet communications for 11 days would be a major nuisance.
If it was a collision shop using an estimating companies cloud computing new collision damage estimating and management repair programs and my internet went down, I would likely be out of business for 11 days in some areas of operation and maybe permanently out of business.
Improvements and additions to shop management and estimating systems are terrific. They can turn our skills from fixing cars to providing the means of understanding and running a profitable business.
However, the new generation of estimating and management, where your data is not kept at the shop and instead is on the estimating company’s server (cloud computing) and then accessible to you can create challenges:
Recently the agent for one of the estimating and management companies held a sales seminar in Ontario, that I attended. When a shop asked what happens when the internet goes down and they can’t access data, they were told that would not happen because of redundant systems at their company. When asked what happens when their local internet provider goes down they were told- it will be only short-lived. When asked about additional shop-paid internet back up systems or what happens to your data when you don’t pay your bill the answer from the back of the room was "Next question”
Having been subjected to internet shutdown for 11 days makes me cautious.
Remember these famous reported words” While regrettable, for which I again apologize, the outage was unavoidable”- the managing director and chief executive of a major collision estimating/management software company in the UK., is quoted in British magazines, after an IT failure collapse on September 22, 2006, left more than 3,000 bodyshops unable to complete repair estimates.
Or how about this one from September 29, 2010:
"”We will be looking for confidence and guarantees from (our collision estimating/management software provider), because it is not acceptable”-said the managing director of claims of one of the U.K.s largest insurers, after a major collision estimating/management software firm system outage that left a four day-delay in processing claims. "If (our) own claims system went down we would be fined by the Financial Services Authority.” "We regret the interruption, and will be taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again” is the response quoted from the estimating/management software firm spokesperson.
This is not a hit against estimating companies, or a situation in the U.K., (or even why insurers can seemingly get guarantees from estimating companies for service continuity that shops can not) but it is a caution that putting all your eggs in one basket of allowing (and paying for) an estimating company to keep all your data offsite and only available if the internet and their software and your recent payments to them continue to be valid and reliable, may present a genuine business risk for a shop.
At a minimum if you are going to use these types of systems, you should have a separate outside backup. ( A business-saving process that the estimating firm last week told us could not be done)
A Toronto company is adverting that your repair damage estimates, when you are finished with them, are worth $300 million in additional revenue, by allowing insurance companies to rebill clients for accidents not reported to their insurer. We should all worry when the dollars to be made on selling your estimates exceeds the dollars to be made in providing you an estimating system, and the estimating company controls your estimates.
These are my frustrated comments and do not necessarily reflect the association’s views.
BASIC ESTIMATING COURSE OFFERED IN AUGUST-LAST CHANCE THIS YEAR
The popular basic estimating collision repair training course is back to help shop or office employees, new estimators and insurance company staff who may need assistance in estimating collision damage on cars and light trucks in Ontario.
Taught by experienced apprenticeship instructor, Jim Miles, this six night course includes, introduction to estimating, understanding vehicle construction, fundamentals of estimate writing, understanding collision manuals, additional charges and collision damage analysis.
This evening course commences Wednesday, August 8th, two classes per week over a three - week period.
Time & Location: Martino Bros Collision (Boardroom - 606 Dixon Road @ Hwy 401): 6:30 to 9:30
Monday and Wednesday nights starting August 8th 2012
Association members -$450 plus HST, per person
Non-members -$550 plus HST, per person
Students can register at the office at 1-866-309-4272 or e-mailing email@example.com
This course is now eligible for I-CAR training points
Prepayment is required
"To represent the best interests of the industry, providing opportunities for growth for
TORONTO AUTOBODY REPORTING EMISSIONS DEADLINE IS NEXT WEEKCHEMtrac reporting due by July 3, 2012
Autobody and collision repair shops in Toronto, have until the first Tuesday in July to fill out the online CHEMtrac reporting form and submit their data to the City of Toronto.
Shops are required to report their 2011 year total emissions of volatile organic compounds from their paint and solvent use, any sanding emissions, emissions of nitrogen oxide from their spray booth and manganese emissions from their welding operations. Shops must report all targetted emssions that are over a set threshold amount.
Your collision repair trade association can help!!
Collision Industry Information and Assistance (CIIA) has a simplified process that saves shop members time and effort. No need to worry about how to work through the forms.
Penalties for not reporting range from an administrative fine up to $5000 on first offense, so we urge shops to complete their reporting soon or call your association for help.
Members can leave all the work and calculations to your association to handle for a fee of $300 plus HST. Non-members have a fee surcharge applied.
A number of shops are advising that consultants are calling, offering to do the calculations/reporting for a fee of $2000 or more. Don’t be misled! Your association can offer services and help, even just over the telephone for questions to help complete this report.
Shops can call their CIIA industry trade association at 1 866 309 4272 for help or use firstname.lastname@example.org
Beamsville, Ontario -- January 6, 2012
The torch has been officially passed at Jerry's Auto Body in Beamsville. The original owner and founder, Jerry Gerritsen, has retired after 42 years in the collision repair business. His son, Alan, has taken over the reins in what promises to be an extremely smooth transition. Like a lot of people in the business, Alan Gerritsen grew up around collision repair. He's been working full-time at Jerry's Auto Body since 1990, and has been in a leadership role for the last 10 years. "We've been heading that way for a long time now,” says Alan. "We've got a lot of great people here to back us up, so we've got a good foundation laid for the future. The key to a good finished product is to start with a great foundation.” Gary Coveradale, a long-time member of the staff at Jerry's Auto Body has also retired this year. In fact, Gary started working at the shop before Jerry Gerritsen purchased it in 1969.
"We're fortunate and blessed to have had both Gary and my dad working here for so long,” says Alan. "But I know that the rest of the team is ready to move into the future.”
Thanks to Collision Repair magazine for this article.
Toronto, Ontario -- January 11, 2011
The new Canadian Auto Recyclers'Environmental Code (CAREC) is another step along the road to distinguish legitimate auto recyclers from the junkyards in the eyes of the public. Recyclers adhering to this code identify themselves as some of the "good guys.”
Steve Fletcher, Managing Director of the Auto Recyclers of Canada (ARC), explains the evolution of the program. "This came out of Environment Canada's National Code of Practice for Automotive Recyclers, developed to support the Retire Your Ride scrappage program. It laid out some pretty stringent compliance requirements for a recycling operation to properly process a vehicle. CAREC goes beyond the structure of the original program and has become an invaluable resource for automotive recyclers in the environmentally sound management of end-of-life vehicles.” There are three goals for the new program, and each is laudable by itself. First, CAREC will convey the legal and mandatory requirements before, during, and after the recycling process and promote best management practices within the industry. Second, it will help to promote pollution prevention and promote the vehicle recovery industry, in turn helping to reduce the ecological impact of the automotive sector. Third, to ensure that there is a consistent set of practices that are aligned with federal, provincial, and municipal regulations, as well as with product and industry stewardship programs. ARC has made it a condition of membership that all Direct Members must maintain their certification. The certification itself requires that the facility pass an independent audit. The audit uses a standardized protocol to measure the facility itself and the processes used. For more information on CAREC, please visit carec.ca
Thanks to Collision Repair magazine for this article.
GRAND OPENING OF THE NEW AUTO 53 CSN COLLISION IN HAMILTON
On Wednesday December 7, the grand opening of the new Auto 53 CSN collision repair location in Hamilton featured a special surprise. With the kindness of local vendors and the donation of a damaged vehicle by Aviva Canada, the Auto 53 staff beautifully repaired it to pre-accident condition and donated it to a worthy individual. As part of their Benevolence Program, a number of social agencies recommended individuals who they felt could very badly need a vehicle for their transportation needs. YWCA Hamilton had provided the name of Ashley Lowe, a 28 year-old mother of two daughters age 8 and 4, as she was an intern in the Federal Public sector youth internship program and had written a letter to the agency and the shop outlining her family's immediate needs for transportation. In a special ceremony (see attached photos) Santa delivered the completely reconditioned vehicle to Ashley and one of her daughters at the shop. Also included were git certificates for fuel and a one year insurance coverage. Presenting the vehicle were Wayne Locker of Aviva Canada and the Auto 53CSN shop owners, Nick DeLuca (of CARS Collision and City Automotive in Burlington) and Julio Bruno ( of Glen Merritt Collision, St. Catharines)
BIRCHMOUNT COLLISION TO DONATE $10 PER CAR TO CANADIAN CANCER SOCIETY
For the month of December, Birchmount Collision will donate $10 to the Canadian Cancer Society for every vehicle they repair or service. Owner Wayne Hosaki feels that the C.C.S. is a worthwhile cause because of its all-encompassing efforts to fight this destructive disease.
Hosaki's decision to launch the program reflects his belief that cancer is a disease that affects everyone. "I have lost family to cancer, as has my wife,” Hosaki says, recognizing the pain cancer causes our families and our friends. "I wanted to think of some way that would benefit the community as a whole,” Hosaki recalls when attempting to devise an effective method for donating.
Since 1958, Birchmount Collision has been owned and operated by the Hosaki family. The facility's commitment to the environment was recognized in 2010, when they received the C.A.A. Environmental Commitment Award. With their Scarborough location, Birchmount Collision is centrally located for servicing the Markham, North York, Toronto and Durham regions.
As quoted from the C.C.S.'s website, "the Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer.” Thanks to Wayne Hosaki and Collision Repair magazine for this article.
Auto Body Shops Appeal to Government for Help
Local auto body repair shops are looking to the provincial and federal governments to help in their fight against insurance companies and their alleged unfair practices.
Truswell Collision Services, Bracebridge Collision, All Star Auto, John's Collision Shop and Turner Auto Body in Bracebridge, T & M Autobody and Midway Autobody in Gravenhurst, and Muskoka Collision in Huntsville banded together recently to place a half-page ad in local newspapers to alert consumers to their rights under the Insurance Act, in particular, the right to choose a repair shop.
Representatives from the group recently met with Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller at his constituency office in Bracebridge, and with MP Tony Clement at his office in Huntsville to find out how the government may be able to help with their issues.
The coalition of repair shops alleges insurance companies, as a group, are moving toward the use of one large, impersonal direct repair facility for all collision claims, bypassing community retailers and service shops in the process. Collision clients are directed to the favoured repair shop, with the claim that it is faster, has better warranties or that the insurance company can intervene if the client is not satisfied with the work.
"There is a lot of insurance fraud … including fraud committed in auto body repair shops,” said Mark Klein, manager of media relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the national industry association that represents Canada's private home, car and business insurers. "This is driving up premiums for consumers and it certainly seems to me to make sense for insurers to investigate and make arrangements with preferred shops in order to protect themselves.”
Besides the alleged risk of fraud at shops not recommended by the insurance company, Klein said other reasons a certain shop may be favoured include the quality of work, or the one-stop experience, where the shop does all the paperwork, provides its own appraiser and may also have a loaner vehicle on-site for the customer.
"It's well within insurance companies' rights and prerogative to suggest shops they're comfortable with,” said Klein. "There may be very good reasons why an insurance company prefers certain shops. Having said that, no one is obligated to go to those shops.”
However, the local auto body repair shops allege that many of the insurance companies are not conveying this message to their customers and are actually violating the consumer's right to choose by bullying them into believing the opposite, that they do not have an option.
"It's a conflict of interest because the truth of it is you as the insured have interests that are your own — they are your car, the quality of repair and the parts you get on your car — and the insurance company has an interest too,” explained Dale Truswell, owner of Truswell Collision Services. "Your interest and theirs are not necessarily the same.… When they direct you to a shop that they choose, whose interests are being served? Yours, the insured, or theirs, the insurer?”
After meeting with the concerned auto repair shops, Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller said he is sympathetic to their issues and asked them to put their concerns in writing so he can direct them to the relevant authorities, including the Financial Service Commission of Ontario, the minister of finance and the minister of consumer services.
"I'm certainly going to follow it up,” said Miller. "I would also encourage any individuals who have felt they didn't have a choice to contact my office and make me aware of the specific circumstances. That will help.”
Although the laws and regulations regarding auto insurance fall under the provincial government's jurisdiction, Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement said some serious issues about competition and market power, which are a federal concern, were also raised during his meeting with the auto body repair group.
"The best thing to do is to refer it to an expert whose job it is to review the practices of businesses and industries and then to identify anti-competitive behaviour and deal with it,” said Clement. "I will certainly do my job as MP to get them connected to the right people.”
Clement has also asked the group to gather their concerns, evidence and any indication of improper behaviour by insurance companies in writing, so he can take it to the federal competition bureau on their behalf.
According to Keith Turner of Turner Auto Body, the auto body repair group hopes to have their paperwork in order for both levels of government soon. Though the group is hopeful they will get some results through the government avenues, their main concern is to raise awareness among consumers.
"It's just amazing,” said Turner. "In the month that we've been doing this, just the knowledge and people talking about it may be the best thing that ever happened.”
To learn more about your rights as an auto insurance consumer, visit the Financial Services Commission of Ontario website at fsco.gov.on.ca.
Courtesy Kim Good , Jacqueline Lawrence, Bracebridge Examiner/Gravenhurst Banner
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