Fleet News

Industry split over new VBRA code

THE Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association has drawn up a code of practice for accident management companies in a move designed to protect bodyshops from another Fleet CARS-style debacle. But the document looks unlikely to get the full weight of the bodyshop or accident management industries behind it because of deep divisions between the various trade associations.

The 15-point code outlines working practices for both accident management companies and bodyshops - including financial safeguards to protect creditors in the event of bankruptcy.

Hundreds of bodyshops lost almost £2 million when accident management specialist Fleet CARS went to the wall two years ago (Fleet News September 23, 1994) but if accepted, the new code should prevent a repetition. The document should also help protect bodyshops from the more unethical accident management companies which the VBRA says are 'feeding off the industry'.

For the code of practice to work, however, it needs the goodwill and support of the vast majority of bodyshops, accident management companies and possibly the insurance industry, which at present looks unlikely. The final details and more importantly - which companies are prepared to subscribe to it - will be published in the near future.

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