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Extreme concerns over Competition Commission's report

High Tensile materials in structure
Specialist materials in vehicle structures are highlighting post repair concerns of write-offs by the National Association of Bodyshops.
As part of the Competition Commission’s investigation into the private motor insurance market, they recently published a report by MSX International on vehicle inspection. The National Association of Bodyshops has expressed extreme concern with some of its findings.

The report states that the objectives of the assessments were to look into the quality of repairs which have been made on vehicles which have been involved in accidents by comparing the pre-accident condition with the post-accident condition.

Frank Harvey, Head of NAB said, “The report comes after initial findings from the Competition Commission that suggested significantly larger numbers of satisfied policy holders. Therefore NAB believe that the report’s findings need to be quantified”.

“NAB believe that a much larger sample of post repair inspections need to be analysed so further and more definitive conclusions can be reached. We also believe that it is critical that written off vehicles that have subsequently been returned to the roads should be included within any further post-repair inspection sampling”.

“We urge the Competition Commission to facilitate a meeting of interested parties to discuss the report’s findings. In particular to understand the technical output relating to repair methods and to better understand the wider commercial dynamics that may be driving incorrect behaviours including an examination of insurers’ approved repairer contracts and selection criteria.”

NAB also believe that a number issues relating to market dysfunction have either been left, as yet, unanswered by the Competition Commission’s wider investigation or have not been considered detrimental at this time. These matters could have the capacity to lead to consumer detriment in the future. Therefore NAB continue to lobby for a pan-industry adjudicator, similar to that recently appointed for the supermarket sector. This adjudicator would act to address specific market concerns, to oversee any outcomes of the Competition Commission’s investigation and to prevent future car insurance market dysfunction.

NAB’s comments raise an aspect that is of great importance to us, that repaired write-offs should also be included in post repair inspection. This we must agree with as the correct repair process of many modern vehicles is essential to maintain structural strength. With ever increasing use of specialist materials and high strength steels, conventional welding techniques and other reapir methods can seriously weaken a vehicle.

The Competition Commission report is about the insurance industry and only touches our sector. You can view the full report here.

December 2013

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