The Lexus Group Enthusiast dealers await halo car, more utility vehicles

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Michael O’Brien has been chairman of the Lexus National Dealer Advisory Council since January 2016 during a time of near-record sales and the continuing shift of consumers toward utility vehicles over traditional sedans.

O’Brien, 60, also was chairman during much tougher times, in 2009-10, when he preached dealership discipline to get through the downturn in the luxury market.

He owns O’Brien Auto Group in the state of Washington, with two Lexus dealerships in Bellevue and Tacoma. The group has other luxury and nonluxury brands that stretch into Portland, Ore.

O’Brien is excited about the coming Lexus halo car, the LC 500 coupe, and sees better SUV and crossover availability in 2017, bolstering the brand’s already enviable position in the luxury market.

He was interviewed by Staff Reporter Laurence Iliff in December.

Q: How was 2016 for Lexus dealers?

A: Overall, the industry was good. Lexus business is down slightly — but 2015 was a record year for the brand. All in all, it was a really solid year, but it didn’t feel like a mid-17 million SAAR.

What major issues do Lexus dealers face?

Capitalizing on the shift in the market to SUVs. It took several months to right-size dealer inventory with the right amount of SUVs.

What do you hope to accomplish as chairman of the dealer council?

I want to help bring the right product at the right time so we can compete in all categories.

How best could the factory help dealers sell more vehicles?

We need to have the right vehicles at the right time with competitive incentives. We have a great relationship with Lexus — they listen to our needs and concerns and are very responsive.

Is Lexus adding dealerships?

In the last several years, Lexus has only added a few stores in markets where they need representation. For Lexus dealers this is a nonissue.

Do you expect to see more or less leasing for Lexus in 2017?

Leasing is a core part of Lexus’ overall customer retention strategy — and we expect it to stay about the same.

Are inventory levels a concern?

There was a concern, but it has gotten much better. We expect to finish the fourth quarter very strong and to start 2017 off with great SUV availability.

Is there anything specific Lexus is doing to support dealer profit as volume flattens out?

Lexus has made the adjustments to inventory to build more SUVs and cut back on sedan production.

What products are you looking forward to?

Dealers are looking forward to having a halo sports car with the LC 500.

What would you like to see Lexus do to help dealers handle more service business?

Service business is up as Lexus has seen very solid growth in our customer-pay service business year-to-date. In addition to ensuring Lexus and its dealers continue to take tremendous care of

Lexus customers to maximize retention, they have also been very proactive in providing new ways to drive more service business to our stores.

One great example: our biannual nationally promoted Exclusive Tire Events. These have gone a long way to ensuring our owners know their Lexus dealer can handle all of their service and maintenance needs, including tires.

Another example is our new Enform Service Connect technology, which has been available for about a year. Through the vehicle telematics system, Lexus owners who opt-in for Service Connect have added peace of mind with visibility to vehicle health reports. Owners can be reminded via email or a service alert in their vehicle when they have maintenance due. A great dealer advantage to Service Connect is our improved visibility into a guest’s needs as we also can see these health reports. We now can proactively contact a guest to schedule maintenance, providing a personalized, elevated guest experience.

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The Lexus Group Enthusiast goes wild at the 2017 Tokyo Auto Salon

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The Tokyo Auto Salon is recognized as the first major car event of the year but it is also one of the world’s biggest and most entertaining. Held annually in Chiba’s futuristic waterfront district, the show is dedicated to Japan’s thriving tuning scene. And like the automotive equivalent of a New Year’s resolution, trends launched here have a habit of affecting other western markets for the rest of the year.

The diversity of cars displayed at the huge Makuhari Messe venue is astounding. If you can imagine any genre, sub-genre or niche within the automotive aftermarket, you will be able to find a company with designs on it. Fortunately, the fact that Lexus specializes in delivering a luxury experience has focused the outcome somewhat, but that hasn’t stopped companies using that theme to embrace new challenges.

Leading the way here was Lexus itself, revealing the new production-based Lexus RC F GT3 to the world’s stage. This carbon-skinned beast will be unleashed in North America in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship under 3GT Racing, and in the GT300 class of Japan’s Super GT series under the LMcorsa team. If that wasn’t dramatic enough, Lexus also showed its bold new competitor (above and below) for the highest echelon of the Super GT series, GT500. Come the start of the 2017 race season the new LC 500 racer will be adorned in team livery but we can’t help thinking that the naked dry carbon offers an incredibly intimidating, Batmobile effect.

Showing what the new challenger had to live up to, the LC 500 stood alongside last year’s champion – the Denso Kobelco Sard RC F driven by Heikki Kovalainen and Kohei Hirate.

Talking of Sard, the tuner’s race experience has been put to good use in development of a new LSR Edition aerodynamic system for the RC model. The full package is shown below, which consists of a carbon fibre front splitter, vented bonnet and neat ducktail rear spoiler. Also fitted is the company’s exhaust, chassis and brake components.

Super GT was also the inspiration for fellow tuner/race team TOM’S, which put on a masterclass of understatement with a pair of current F-line cars decked in spotlight-popping Sonic Silver. Would you believe that a total of 26 different products enhance this GS F below, extending from body and chassis to engine and interior. Definitely one of our favourite cars of the show.

Similar thinking was applied by Novel, which also displayed an RC F and GS F, alongside its race-prepared IS F that came third-in-class in last year’s 24 Hours of Nürburgring. Products fitted to the race car have informed the development of an attractive yet functional series of aero, chassis and engine parts.Carbon-over-white colour schemes are popular among Lexus tuners, especially those which aim to retain an air of restrained dignity with their demo cars. This was true of the subtle Black Label RX and IS models displayed by Artisan Spirits

At first glance, the Lexus IS below appears to follow a similar theme. But look a little more closely and you realise that it is a second-generation model with a spindle grille conversion. This convincing makeover is produced by Fixer and is also available for the fourth-generation LS – a modification that might prove popular following the announcement of the next-generation flagship.

If there is one area of the aftermarket that Lexus has got sewn up, it’s VIP style. Contrary to the perceived understanding of the initials, VIP isn’t a who, it’s a trend associated with large, rear-wheel drive cars. Always impossibly low-slung, the style requires the right stance – dished alloys and negative camber geometry in order to squeeze the widest possible wheels within the arches. Cars modified in a VIP style are not about going fast, they’re designed to cruise along and look good.

T Demand’s GS 350 (above) exemplified this VIP approach, using its air suspension system and staggered SSR 19-inch wheel set-up to achieve the desired effect. However, the car’s incredibly shiny black paint reflected every surface and made it almost impossible to see. A similar approach is also seen on this RC F Sport on the XO Luxury Wheels stand.

From this foundation, all sorts of fun and games ensues as tuners take the rule book and rip it to shreds. Which is precisely what the Tokyo Auto Salon is all about.

Vehicle stance is being pushed beyond the boundaries of surrounding bodywork. Just because the top of the tyre needs to be covered by the body, that doesn’t mean the rest of the wheel has to. This is seen in 326 Power’s show-stopping RC 350 below, the rear tyres of which are so stretched over the alloys that the rims sit a good 40mm proud of the sidewalls.

Wide wheels do not have to mean stretched tyres, as the popularity of race-inspired over-fenders has now been adopted by the VIP crowd in order to increase the car’s footprint. For instance, Aimgain’s Lexus LS 460 F Sport (below) manages to completely swallow its 21-inch Savini alloys with the help of a JUN VIP GT aero kit, which includes front and rear over-fenders that are 50 and 80mm wider than standard respectively.

 

Eastern Alliance Insurance Group Review – Form a Healthcare Professional Liability Insurance Program

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Inova. A smart alternative to traditional healthcare professional liability insurance for large entities, from ProAssurance.

As healthcare continues to evolve at a rapid pace, so do the challenges that come with treating patients effectively and safely. Protect your healthcare professionals and entity with coverage that’s right for your unique situation.

That’s where Inova from ProAssurance comes in:

  • An alternative form for healthcare professional liability insurance providing a common-sense approach to risk management and loss financing.
  • Helps you control your organization’s future. If you want greater program control and are willing to share some risk, if your premiums exceed $1 million and you have an excellent claims history, then Inova from ProAssurance is likely the right fit for you.
  • Expect commitment, respect, and collaboration. At ProAssurance, we are dedicated to treating you fairly. That’s the touchstone we live by when dealing with each and every customer – and how we earn and keep your business.

Eastern Alliance Insurance Group Review – Additional Resources

Where else can you go for help and information? As your workers’ compensation carrier, Eastern Alliance Insurance Group (EAIG) provides you with answers to some of the most common questions Injured Workers have about their claim, and a glossary of commonly-used insurance terms.

INJURED WORKER BROCHURE

Want a pocket-sized guide to ecovery? Request our Injured Worker brochure.

GLOSSARY (PDF) In case you haven’t noticed, workers’ compensation is filled with abbreviations and acronyms. We’re here to help you decode them.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

An often overlooked resource is your state’s workers’ compensation website, which can provide unbiased information regarding workers’ compensation. Click on the state’s name to be redirected to their workers’ compensation website:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Wisconsin
  • West Virginia

Eastern Alliance Insurance Group Review – Already Have a Claim?

Many employers have questions about what happens after they report a claim. You may also wonder how an ecovery program fits into the claims process.

  1. The claim is reported to Eastern and assigned to a Claim Representative. Prompt reporting is very important to the process! Your claim should be reported immediately so that Eastern can begin managing it appropriately.
  2. The injured worker seeks medical attention and treatment begins; if you have a medical provider panel in place, you may need to have the employee sign an acknowledgement form prior to treatment (except in an emergency situation). Physicians should be informed that the injury is work-related and that you have a Return to Wellness (RTW) program. This way, the treatment plan can be tailored with the goal of restoring productivity and a return to the workplace. All medical bills should be submitted for Eastern’s review.
  3. Eastern initiates a 3-point claim investigation, contacting the injured worker, the employer and the medical provider. This investigation will result in an approval or denial of the claim. Regular contact among all three parties is encouraged and plays an integral role in a successful outcome.
  4. Eastern obtains wage information to determine the amount of weekly wage benefits the injured worker will receive.
  5. Reserves are developed based on disability and medical diagnosis, treatment plan and your ability to offer modified duty.
  6. Eastern investigates any viable subrogation possibilities.
  7. The medical provider addresses the injured worker’s ability to work by reviewing your pre-injury job description and proposed modified duty job description.
  8. You should then utilize the ecovery modified duty task lists and the restrictions provided by the treating physician to develop a modified duty job offer.
  9. The injured worker returns to the workplace, performing modified duty within the physician’s restrictions.
  10. The injured worker continues to recover, receiving the physical, financial and psychological benefits of returning to modified duty. Additional medical treatment continues, as appropriate, and the treating physician periodically re-evaluates the injured worker’s work capabilities.
  11. Your designated Risk Management Consultant reviews the accident information and will make recommendations to prevent future injuries.
  12. The injured worker is either eventually released to his/her pre-injury job without restrictions, or is given permanent restrictions. The outcome is influenced by a variety of factors, including jurisdiction, job availability, the individual details of the claim, and other considerations.
  13. Any additional benefits due are paid and the claim is brought to resolution.

ecovery’s Return to Wellness philosophy is linked to every step of a claim! Modified duty options should be consistently re-evaluated and monitored to achieve the best possible outcome for all parties.

Eastern Alliance Insurance Group Review – Employer Recognition Program

What is the purpose of the Program?

The intention of the program is to acknowledge an employer’s commitment to Return to Wellness and thank them for their dedication. Sometimes the focus is only on employers who do not offer modified duty. The ecovery Recognition Program keeps Return to Wellness in a positive light and provides us with an opportunity to say “thank you” to your clients who embrace the ecovery philosophy, as well as provide additional employee ecovery education.

How does the Program work?

Both agents and Eastern team members can nominate an employer who has demonstrated a commitment to the ecovery and Return to Wellness philosophy by completing the ecovery Employer Recognition Program nomination form on the http://www.eains.com website. The form is submitted for Eastern’s review, and each quarter, approved nominees will be recognized.

Who should be nominated?

Employers who have demonstrated a commitment to the ecovery and Return to Wellness philosophy through such actions as: implementing and utilizing an ecovery Program, creatively providing opportunities for modified duty, or taking steps to incorporate ecovery into their workplace culture.

What will the employers receive?

Employers will receive a letter of appreciation and a placard to publicly display their commitment to the ecovery philosophy. Recipients will be listed on the ecovery website and blog. They will also receive instructions on how their employees can enter a quarterly drawing for a grand prize.

How do employees enter the drawing?

There will be instructions included in the letter to the recognized employers. The employer should notify Eastern within the provided time frame if they are interested in having their employees participate in the drawing. Eastern will then send the employer cards to distribute to each employee. The cards contain a link the employee can use to enter the drawing upon viewing a brief introduction to ecovery and completing a quick survey.

How often are nominees acknowledged?

At the end of each quarter (March, June, September and December), the person submitting the nomination form will be advised as to the status of the nomination. Employers who have been selected for recognition will receive a phone call from Eastern and will be mailed their recognition materials. The grand prize drawing occurs once per quarter, after which the winner, his/her employer, and the employer’s agent are notified.

 

Online Security – Best practices to protect your small business from internet threats

No one is excused from cyberattacks. Even your small business could fall victim to one attack or another. With all the important sensitive data you have involving your clients and staffs; the repercussion of a breach can be serious and frightening. For this reason, it is necessary to take precaution, establish rules and measures to use against attacks over the internet.

Here are some of the most important steps every small business should be taking to protect themselves from cyberattacks.

  • There are a number of ways files can be lost unexpectedly, this is why it is important to frequently backup data. Save it in a secured remote location in case anything goes badly wrong with your computer.
  • Choose the best security software that can:

– catch viruses and Trojan horse programs

– control spam that may contain malicious code or links

– detect financial hacking techniques

Many security software are available on the market. Make sure to install it on every PC and server running and up-to-date.

  • Protect your network with a firewall to control internet traffic coming into and flowing out. You need to use a firewall whenever you go online to provide protection from unsafe internet sources.
  • Implementing a strong password is the easiest and simplest way you can do to strengthen your protection. You should definitely avoid using your personal data in creating a password and consider setting a password protection policy where you can make user passwords expire after a certain number of days.
  • Computers and electronic devices must contain passwords and stored and lock in a safe place. They contain highly sensitive data, thus, securing them is a must. In addition, limit the people who have access to records and ensure that they understand the sensitivity of the data they work with and their role to make it safe and secure.
  • Stored paper receipts with personal and financial information shouldn’t be kept for a long time in your cabinet if it is no longer needed. Buy a paper shredder and shred those papers instead.
  • Do not underestimate the importance of physical security. Get a surveillance camera and an alarm system to protect your personnel, hardware, and data from physical actions and events that may cause severe loss or damage to your business.
  • Establishing IT security policies is essential to a company’s health. It must contain rules and measures that target the prevention and elimination of the common kinds of internet attacks that may threaten the company. Make sure that your employees will understand and follow each guideline and you yourself should set a good example to everyone else in the business.

Eastern Alliance Insurance Group Review – Ecovery: Return to Wellness

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Fresh Outlooks for Return to Work Programs

What is ecovery?

ecovery is Eastern’s innovative, holistic program to help return injured workers to wellness and productivity by using work as a therapeutic tool.

How does ecovery help me?

Whether you are an employer, injured worker, medical provider, or producer, ecovery provides you with the resources you need to:

  • Promote faster recovery
  • Reduce your insurance costs
  • Increase productivity
  • Improve retention
  • Implement a Best Practice for employers
  • Promote a culture of commitment to employees’ wellbeing

ecovery focuses on helping employers and injured workers return to wellness after a work-related injury. Unlike basic “Return-to-Work” programs, ecovery addresses the economical, physical, psychological and financial benefits of returning injured employees to productivity after an injury. Our holistic approach focuses on the big picture, not just dollars and cents.

Cyber Security – How to Minimize the Risk of Becoming a Victim of Identity Theft

The technology today provides new ways for cybercriminals to steal personal and financial informations to commit fraud. As authorities continue to create and improve cybercrime fighting tactics, the methods used by criminals to steal identities evolve over time as well. Below are some ways to defend yourself against attacks.

  1. Many people have many different online accounts which use the same one, two or three passwords. This is the common mistake for many people as it makes them more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Do not use obvious passwords that can be easily guessed by cybercriminals and frequently change your passwords on each account.
  2. Cybercriminals will definitely send emails pretending that they are from the bank and will require you to input your personal and financial details in one of their bogus websites. If this happens, ignore the message. If the email truly bothers you, call your bank instead.
  3. Frequently check your financial reports for unquestionable transactions. Contact your bank immediately if you found one.
  4. Shred your documents by using a paper shredder before dumping them all in the trash. Cybercriminals might obtain important information if you don’t properly dispose those receipts and bank statements you have.
  5. Request for a compilation of all your credit transactions. Examine those credit reports for wrong details and quickly report it to your bank if there’s any.
  6. If you notice questionable transactions on your account then file a “Fraud Alert”. A fraud alert can make it harder for identity thieves to open more accounts in your name because it will require verifying your identity first before it issues credit.
  7. Do not bring your Social Security card outside if it isn’t necessary. Unexpected things may happen, it is better left at home.
  8. Identity thieves can make a way to recover all your deleted files from a formatted hard drive, so it is better to completely remove data on hard drives using different ways available on the market.

Tyre&Auto Southbourne Group Review: A good team with a good car service

Being an effective or a good team doesn’t mean that each member should be perfect, what is important is that everyone understands each other and works hand in hand to achieve a certain goal. And Tyre&Auto Southbourne Group values and applies this in doing their job. They work hard each day to give a good car service to their customers.

A lot of people in Southbourne has been witnessing the good car service of Tyre&Auto and has been recommending the place to their families and friends with car concerns over the years. Some customers showed how impressed they are with the kind and smart service of the team through their reviews. Each manager gained unmatched trust from the customers and has been dedicated to giving detailed and careful service to people ever since.

The company does not only provide a good service to their customers but also builds a good camaraderie with them. Their professional approach will surely solve any of your car-related concerns and their dependable skills will be an advantage to you and your vehicle.

Tyre&Auto Southbourne Group, a family run company, has been active in the trades in South Coast of Hampshire. They are also composed of professionals that aim to solve any car problems efficiently and foresee imminent concerns properly.

The company is vigilant in handling each service and makes sure that everything is working well for their customers and their vehicles. They are available for brake checks, car servicing, looking for good tyres, MOTs, plus they also provide free seasonal checks. Their online service helps you reserve your tyres for fitting and obtain a quick tyre quote.

Giving utmost convenience is their priority, thus, Tyre&Auto Southbourne Group provides a local collect and a return service to their customers wherein you can ask them about the service when you booked. Checking your car’s windscreen wipers and doing a full engine overhaul to your vehicle are also parts of their services.

Contact their local depot to know more about their services and experience their good services delivered by a good team.