GCIA Kicks Off 2018 With Introduction to Erica Eversman

From Autobody News – Written by

On Jan. 18, the Georgia Collision Industry Association (GCIA) held its 2018 kickoff meeting—the group’s first meeting since the passing of Executive Director Howard Batchelor last fall.

Despite a highly unusual dusting of snow that caused business closings for several days, around 40 collision repair industry professionals braved the inclement roads to learn how to protect themselves from litigation and be properly compensated for completed repair operations during a presentation from industry attorney Erica Eversman. The meeting was held at Wyndham Atlanta Galleria in Atlanta, GA.

Association Secretary Gregg Goff feels association meetings like this one are important in order to “provide information to shop owners and managers that help them promote a more professional and complete repair process. Many do not have time during their day to catch up with recent events or news from the collision repair industry.”

Goff opened the meeting by discussing several upcoming events for the association: the 2018 Southern Automotive Repair Conference (SARC) in Biloxi, NACE/Automechanika in Atlanta later this year and GCIA’s 2018 golf tournament, scheduled to take place this fall. After reminding association members to update the VRS Labor Rate Survey, he introduced three candidates for the office of Insurance Commissioner in the 2018 election: Tracy Jordan, Jim Beck and Shane Mobley.

Goff then introduced Erica Eversman, Chief Legal Counsel for Vehicle Information Services, who presented “Providing Customers Safe, Proper Repairs and Recent Lawsuits Exposing Insurer Interference with that Goal.” Eversman stressed the importance of following OEM procedures and documentation during the repair process.

“Erica discussed the difference between a cost estimate (insurer estimate) and the damage analysis,” Goff shared. “Cost estimates are done by insurers to verify and document the loss while allocating funds internally to be available for the payment of the claim, and the damage analysis should be completed by the shop as the blueprint for the repair. She discussed how DRP arrangements are seen by legal means as ‘electing to repair’ by insurance companies and puts liability on them for the repair completed, along with the shop. As such, the insurance estimate should not even be considered for the repair process; this keeps the authority in the hands of the shop where it belongs.”

Further exploring the implications of shop liability, Eversman cited the following court cases as evidence of the importance of shops following the correct procedures and standing up for themselves and their customers: Cook v. State Farm (KY, 2004), Smith v. American Family S. W. (MO, 2009), Progressive v. North State Autobahn Greg Coccaro (NY, 2011), Seebachan v. John Eagle Collision Center (TX, 2017), and Nick’s Garage v. Progressive/Nationwide (NY, ongoing).

Goff recalled, “As vehicles evolve with ADAS options, they are becoming more and more complicated to repair. Shops must invest in training, equipment, scan tools, OEM procedure information and an internal documentation and auditing program to indemnify themselves in case of legal ramifications relating to repair. Shops must follow OEM repair procedures to protect themselves and their customers.”

After her presentation, Eversman engaged in a question-and-answer session, which elicited insightful feedback from attendees.

She concluded with, “The real question is whether you, as the repairer, would be willing to repair your child’s vehicle in the same way and feel safe with them on the road.”


In Memory of Gene L. Hamilton: Arrangements

Gene L. Hamilton
June 17, 1946 – October 22, 2017

Gene Lee Hamilton, age 71, of Duluth, passed away on Oct 22, 2017. Gene was born on June 17, 1946 in Indianola, Iowa. He graduated in 1965 from George Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He moved his family to Atlanta in 1969.

There, he started his career in the automobile industry; first in sales then later opened Sports and Imports Inc. a used car and wholesale vehicle business until the late 80’s. Shortly thereafter he founded his first collision repair facility, Sports and Imports Collision which is to this day, Industry renowned. Throughout his time in the collision repair industry, Gene led the charge in shaping the face of collision repair. He also served in many leadership positions, Boards and Committees. Gene didn’t just enjoy working in his business but thrived upon it. With all his involvements and activities, his most cherished time was spent with his daughters, grandchildren and friends both new and old.

Giving back was no stranger to Gene as he was actively involved and participated in several charities. Including, but not exclusive to; the Jerry Lewis Telethon and the Ronald McDonald House which is an on-going benefactor through his family’s support.

Preceded in death by his father, Kenneth Hamilton and granddaughter Morgan M. Popejoy. Survivors include his mother, Norma Hamilton, daughters Michelle Coombs and Jeanette Hamilton, sons in law Bobby Coombs and Andrew Langmaid, grandsons Joshua Harvey and Jacob Coombs, and great grandchildren Taylor Harvey and Riley Popejoy.

A Memorial Service, followed by a Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 12:00 PM. at Ashton Gardens located at 260 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Sugar Hill, GA 30518

In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial gifts to either Alzheimer’s Association at www.act.alz.org/donate or The Atlanta Ronald McDonald House at www.armhc.org

Gene Hamilton, co-founder of the GCIA, Died Sunday

Gene Hamilton, co-founder of the Georgia Collision Industry Association and past chairman of both the Society of Collision Repair Specialists and I-CAR, died Sunday, 22 October 2017.

“He was a hugely successful shop owner and got involved in trying to better the industry on behalf of everyone who toiled in it,” Collision Industry Conference organizer and SCRS co-founder Jeff Hendler said Monday.

Hamilton owned Sports & Imports Collision in Georgia and became active in the collision repair industry in the 1990s. By 1998, he had made enough of an impact to be inducted into the Hall of Eagles, the industry’s “hall of fame.” By 2000, he had been elected chairman of SCRS, after already having won the industry’s “Green Shop Award” and “Industry Achievement Award” — the latter for urging manufacturers and vendors to donate money they had been earmarking for industry parties to auto body repair nonprofits.

In 2003, Hamilton was named chairman of I-CAR. He also was a board member of the I-CAR Education Foundation and Gold Class Steering Committee. In 2015, SCRS honored Hamilton with the Lifetime Honorary Membership award — one of only four ever bestowed by the more than 30-year-old organization. Sports & Imports general manager Michelle Coombs, speaking on behalf of her father, said then that he would probably tell the audience that the industry has given him more than he’s given it.

“Gene Hamilton is one of the most respected and recognized people in the collision repair industry today,” the GCIA wrote in 2013. “This is not only because of his many accomplishments, awards, and business successes; but also because in 1997 Gene helped start the Georgia Collision Industry Association that has helped local, regional and national repairers as well. From the beginning of his career he has held a passion for our industry. For Gene, it has never been enough to turn out high quality repairs in his facilities. He has always believed that anything he can do to improve the reputation and respect of the collision repair industry at large would not only make his business model sustainable but would assist his many friends, peers, and yes, even competitors provide safer and more reliable repairs for the consumer. In the end, it has always been about ensuring that friends and families can feel confident that their vehicle was repaired to pre-accident condition and by a true collision repair professional. Gene knows that collision professionals working together is the only way to make improvements in and to better our industry.”

Obituary and arrangements for Howard Batchelor

Howard Ashley Batchelor, age 47, of Cumming, passed away Tuesday, September 12, 2017.  Howard was born in High Wycombe, England and moved with his family to Roswell, Georgia when he was 6 years old.  He graduated from Roswell High School in 1988.  He started his working career at Photography by David and finished his career with FinishMaster, Inc. serving as a business development manager with territories in North Carolina and South Carolina.  He also served as a long-term executive director of the Georgia Collision Industry Association.  Howard was an avid sports fan and loved watching the Georgia Bulldogs, NFL and NASCAR.  He enjoyed grilling outside and spending time with friends at Lake Lanier.

He was preceded in death by his father, Alan Batchelor.  Survivors include his mother, Jean Batchelor of Roswell; sister and brother-in-law, Wendy and Jim Brock of Marietta; brother and sister-in-law, Russell Thomas and Maxine Silver of Lilburn; aunt and uncle, Joan and John Smith of Roswell; and several nieces and a nephew.

Memorial services will be held Wednesday, September 20 at 2:30 pm at Roswell United Methodist Church in the Chapel.

Ingram Funeral Home, Cumming, Georgia is in charge of arrangements.

Condolences may be made at www.ingramfuneralhome.com.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to the Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network, CERN Foundation, P.O. Box 217, Zionsville, IN  46077.   www.cern-foundation.org.

GCIA Executive Director Howard Batchelor Passed Away

Hello Industry Associate

The GCIA Board is very sad to share with you that our long-term Executive Director, colleague, and friend, Howard Batchelor, passed away this morning. As many know, he had been battling an inoperable brain tumor, and now the battle is over and he is at eternal rest.

Howard was highly respected in our industry and a friend to all. He will be greatly missed and especially by the Georgia Collision Industry Association. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends.

We will update with arrangement details as soon as we receive them.

The GCIA Board

SCRS To Present Awards At Collision Industry Red Carpet Awards Breakfast During SEMA Show

The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) has announced the first annual Collision Industry Red Carpet Awards Breakfast at the 2017 SEMA Show. This event will be free to attend, and will be held from 7:30-9 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 1 in Ballrooms D-E in the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino.

To RSVP, click here: http://conta.cc/2u4wrEM.

The event will feature some of the most prestigious awards and recognitions from industry organizations, highlighting standout individuals and businesses in the collision repair industry.

As part of the morning ceremony, SCRS will deliver the first-ever March Taylor Kina’ole Award. The Hawaiian word Kina’ole is the embodiment of excellence in the highest form. It is often defined as “Doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, in the right place, to the right person, for the right reason, with the right feeling, the first time.”

Many within SCRS and the collision repair industry learned life lessons about Kina’ole from March Taylor, then owner of Auto Body Hawaii in Kailua Kona, Hawaii, and SCRS board member. Ten years ago, on Aug. 26, 2007, Taylor passed away.

“We all lost an invaluable man, friend, mentor and ally that day,” said SCRS Past Chairman Barry Dorn. “March would be the first to tell you that he did nothing ‘significant’ and he was humble beyond belief but he could bridge gaps, change peoples’ minds and move progress forward by simply being who he was. That is the legacy that we all must continue. Individuals like March do not come around often, and it is so important to recognize it when they do, encourage it, and to carry on with what he has started and grow it for future generations.”

Event awards will include:

BodyShop Business Executive of the Year Awards
CIECA Electronic Commerce of the Year Award;

Outstanding Achievement Awards

I-CAR Russ Verona Memorial Award;Jeff Silver Award;

Board of Directors Chairman’s Award

National Auto Body Council Award of Distinction;Body Image Award
Society of Collision Repair Specialists Inaugural presentation of the March Taylor Kina’ole Award

The Collision Industry Red Carpet Awards Breakfast places a priority on encouraging and recognizing greatness in individuals, companies and actions in the collision repair industry in a place where the excitement and energy of the SEMA Show provides the perfect backdrop for such distinguished presentations.

Seating for breakfast will be on a first come, first serve basis, and will be limited to 200 available seats. Organizers request attendees RSVP no later than Sept. 30.

For more information about SCRS, or to join as a member, visit scrs.com, call toll free 1-877-841-0660 or email info@scrs.com.

SCRS Announces Details on OEM Summit Sessions

Prosser, Washington, August 28, 2017 – The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) announces session details outlining the content of the upcoming OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit (Summit) at the 2017 SEMA Show (Show.)

The Summit, held on Thursday, November 2nd, was first launched by SCRS four years ago to put Show attendees in a room with innovators in automotive structural design and technology that can create context around sophisticated advancements in vehicles and emerging technology, and the impact it will have specifically on collision repair businesses.

This year’s three sessions will address the impact that automotive research has on vehicle construction and functionality, the impact that construction and functionality has on performing once-commonplace repair procedures, and the impact that those OEM procedures – or failure to implement them – have on liability and safety.

The sessions will include:

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

OEM1 | N241 | OEM Session I:

How Automotive Research is Driving Change in Vehicle Design, Technology and Function

The automotive industry has proven to be a ripe landscape for revolutionary technology intended to address everything from autonomy and connectivity to structural developments for advanced vehicle light weighting. These technological advancements rely heavily on innovative research for developing and testing complex solutions to be deployed to the motoring public. This research often stems from collaborations between automakers, in the aftermarket, and through educational institutions; all looking to advance safe, efficient and groundbreaking transportation solutions. Moderated by John Waraniak, Vice President Vehicle Technology for SEMA, this distinguished panel will share  insight into the research going on today that has the potential to reshape how you repair vehicles tomorrow.

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

OEM2 | N241 | OEM Session II:

The Impact of Advanced Vehicle Systems on Routine Repair Process and Procedure

New technology is rapidly advancing on vehicles today, and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are becoming increasingly more popular on new vehicles and can have significant effect on how you perform previously routine services in your collision repair facility. While those on the road benefit from ADAS, the repair industry must change how they approach traditional services as many OEMs require additional procedures, calibrations and tools to ensure restoration of vehicle functionality. Kaleb Silver, Senior Product Manager for Hunter Engineering will present on challenges facing the industry, and the impact of advanced systems on routine services such as wheel alignments. After the presentation he will welcome the following panel to discuss the growing complexities facing the repair marketplaces.

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

OEM3 | N241 | OEM Session III:

The Hidden Dangers of Vehicle Technology, Improper Repair Methodology and Your Liabilities

Those operating within the collision repair industry find themselves in tumultuous times. While the functional and structural technologies in modern-day vehicles are evolving at a breakneck pace (and expected to evolve even faster on our way to autonomous vehicles), the collision repair industry faces a growing gap in skilled workers, and continual downward pressure to mitigate repair expenses and operations performed. In an industry culture that seemingly rewards those who charge the least, rather than those who perform the best, it is an increasing challenge for businesses committed to repairs that are fully compliant with OEM methodologies. In 2017 the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) reaffirmed its longstanding position that “if an OEM documents a repair procedure as required, recommended or otherwise necessary as a result of damage or repair, that those published procedures would be the standard of repair until such time the documentation changes. Disregarding a documented procedure that is made available to the industry creates undue and avoidable liability on the repair facility performing the repair.”

This panel, moderated by John Ellis, Managing Director of Ellis & Associates, will address an industry grappling to reconcile how to move forward for the consumer when certain automotive manufacturer requirements are expected to be performed on every occasion, but insurance claims positioning leans towards “case-by-case” approval. The participants will feature litigators, technology experts, and those with experience in facing liability and safety implications with performing repairs in today’s environment. As current litigation exposes flaws in the rationale for deviating from OEM repair procedures, there isn’t a more critical discussion to participate in for today’s collision repair operator.

Panelists will be announced in a forthcoming release, but registration for these sessions is open. Space will be limited and early registration is encouraged.

Sessions can be selected individually at www.scrs.com/rde or as part of the RDE Full Series Pass.

The 2017 OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit is made possible with support from PPG Automotive Refinish; AkzoNobel; BASF; CCC Information Services, Inc.; DeBeer Refinish; Reliable Automotive Equipment, Inc.; Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.; and SEMA.

For more information about SCRS, or to join as a member, please visit www.scrs.com, call toll free 1-877-841-0660 or email us at info@scrs.com.


About SCRS: 

Through its direct members and 39 affiliate associations, SCRS is comprised of 6,000 collision repair businesses and 58,500 specialized professionals who work with consumers and insurance companies to repair collision-damaged vehicles. Additional information about SCRS including other news releases is available at the SCRS website: www.scrs.com. You can e-mail SCRS at the following address: info@scrs.com.

WIN Announces Details of “Be Extraordinary” 2017 Annual Educational Conference

From Body Shop Business – Full article at https://www.bodyshopbusiness.com/win-announces-details-extraordinary-2017-annual-educational-conference/

The Women’s Industry Network (WIN) has announced details of the 2017 Annual Educational Conference that will take place in Denver, Colo., May 8- 10, 2017. The conference venue, the Westin Denver Downtown is situated in Denver’s historic LoDo district.

“Be Extraordinary” is the theme for the 11th annual conference, and the program’s educational content will focus on creating balance, purpose and results in both the professional and personal facets of your life. The keynote speaker is business ethics expert Chuck Gallagher, host of radio’s “Straight Talk” and author of the book “Second Chances,” who will take main stage on May 9. Gallagher’s presentation, “Positive Choices for Business Success – The Ethics of Excellence,” will focus on building relationships and trust through ethics problem solving.

Health & Safety: Avoiding OSHA’s Top Violations

By Kyle Holt, CONTRIBUTOR to BodyShop Business (Kyle Holt is the president of S/P2, an online safety and pollution prevention training system for the automotive, heavy-duty/diesel, welding, construction, cosmetology and culinary industries.)

Full article at https://www.bodyshopbusiness.com/avoiding-oshas-top-violations/

Each October, OSHA announces its top violations of the year. For 2016, OSHA released its list at the National Safety Council Congress & Expo, the world’s largest gathering of safety professionals.

Similar to other “Top 10” lists, the list doesn’t change much from year to year. Why? If employers worked to correct these hazards, OSHA believes the number of deaths, amputations and hospitalizations would decline drastically.

That may seem discouraging, considering employers are required to run safe workplaces. But the list can be useful as a reference and wake-up call to businesses who need to find areas to focus on when it comes to safety.

The List

Here is the ranking of the most-cited violations, fiscal year 2016, which are compiled from more than 30,000 inspections of workplaces by federal OSHA staff:

  1. Fall protection (Standard 1926.501)
  2. Hazard communication (Standard 1910.1200)
  3. Scaffolds (Standard 1926.451)
  4. Respiratory protection (Standard 1910.134)
  5. Lockout/tagout (Standard 1910.147)
  6. Powered industrial trucks (Standard 1910.178)
  7. Ladders (Standard 1926.1053)
  8. Machine guarding (Standard 1910.212)
  9. Electrical wiring (Standard 1910.305)
  10. Electrical, general requirements (Standard 1910.303)

Collision Repair

Obviously, the collision repair industry isn’t prone to a large number of accidents in some of these top hazard areas, such as fall protection and scaffolds. But consider the following standards that made OSHA’s top 10:

The No. 2 violation: The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The HCS helps ensure that workers are safe around chemicals in the workplace. Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram and hazard statement for each hazard class and category.

In the shop, information about the identities and hazards of these chemicals must be available and understandable to workers. The HCS requires that workplaces:

  • Have labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) available for exposed workers
  • Train employees to handle the chemicals appropriately

The No. 4 violation: respiratory protection. OSHA estimates that 5 million workers are required to wear respirators in 1.3 million workplaces throughout the United States. In a shop, technicians are exposed to many hazards that require the use of a respirator, including dust, airborne biological hazards, mists, fumes, sprays and other airborne particles. The biggest of these are isocyanates, which are toxic and reactive chemicals that are present in the hardeners or catalysts of polyurethane-based, two-part paints.

Employers must develop a written respiratory protection program, specific to the particular workplace. In addition, employers must assign a qualified program administrator to run and evaluate the program regularly. The program must include information about:

  • Selecting respirators appropriate to the workplace and the particular hazards to which employees will be exposed
  • Training employees in the proper use of respirators (including putting them on, removing them and checking the seals), limitations and maintenance. Employees must be retrained annually and when changes occur in the workplace
  • Providing medical evaluation of employees who must use respirators to determine that their ability to use a respirator
  • Fit testing tight-fitting respirators to determine whether the respirator forms a seal on the user’s face
  • Ensuring adequate air supply, quantity and flow of breathing air for atmosphere-supplying respirators
  • Establishing and adhering to schedules for cleaning, disinfecting, storing, inspecting, repairing, removing from service or discarding, and otherwise maintaining respirators
  • Using respirators properly in routine situations, as well as in reasonably foreseeable emergencies
  • Regularly evaluating the effectiveness of the program.

The No. 9 and No. 10 violations: In a shop, electrical hazards can be dangerous to worker health. Keep in mind that the most common causes of electrical accidents and injuries include: loose electrical connections; cords and wiring with missing or frayed insulation; equipment running beyond capacity; tools that cause shocks or emit smoke, excessive heat, odors or sparks; wires running across the floor; electrical cords left near heat, flame or water; and electrical cords or equipment that create an arc being used around hazardous, flammable or explosive materials (unless specifically designed for such uses).

In the shop, you can help prevent electrical accidents (and OSHA violations) by:

  • Keeping the work area clean
  • Making sure employees can locate all electrical shutoffs
  • Inspecting electrical equipment and wires before use to make sure they’re properly insulated and grounded
  • Assigning the electrical repairs to a trained, qualified electrician
  • Avoiding the use of extension cords whenever possible
  • Inspecting portable equipment before each use
  • Making sure electrical plugs match their receptacles
  • Avoiding electrical equipment that emits sparks, smoke or odors
  • Being especially cautious around flammable liquids, vapors or dust, or any area that might have held them
  • Keeping machines and tools lubricated properly
  • Obeying barriers, signs and other warnings near electrical equipment

About 3 million employees are injured on the job each year, and more than 4,500 workers are killed each year. Although your shop may have an outstanding safety record, be sure to review the “most cited violations” list to see where you may be able to focus more resources and make improvements.

Donate to Send a GA Student to SkillsUSA Conference

Skills USAThe 2017 SkillsUSA Championships are June 19-23, 2017, at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Contests begin locally and continue through the state and national levels. More than 6,000 outstanding career and technical education students — all state contest winners — will compete hands-on in more than 99 different trade, technical and leadership fields. Contests are run with the help of industry, trade associations and labor organizations, and test competencies set by industry. The championships is a multi-million-dollar event that occupies space equivalent to more than 16 football fields. Leadership contestants will demonstrate skills including extemporaneous speaking and conducting meetings by parliamentary procedure.

The GCIA is proud to donate $500 to help sponsor a representative from Maxwell High School in attending this very special conference and competition.

Will you help, too?

Donate online with our Safe and Secure “SquareUp” processing. Click the link and choose your Donation Level.

Thanks for your support!