Fleet News

Bodyshops set for courtesy car crisis

BODYSHOPS risk being left high and dry with courtesy car fleets as insurance companies switch to daily rental cars as replacement vehicles. The Retail Motor Industry Federation claims major insurers are looking to remove the burden of courtesy cars from repairers, and as a result cut hourly labour rates.

Bodyshops and their representative organisations have historically opposed the demands of insurers to provide courtesy cars. But now the RMI believes some repairers have begun to successfully operate courtesy fleets and make long-term commitments for the future supply of vehicles. Robert Hadfield, RMI bodyshop adviser, denied the federation had performed a U-turn and said it maintained its fundamental demand for insurers to pay repairers a separate, additional sum for the supply of a replacement car, whether a courtesy car from their own fleet or a hire car.

Norwich Union already has two different labour rate structures, a lower one for Norwich Union Direct which does not require repairers to provide a courtesy car, and a higher one for policies sold through brokers which do require a courtesy car. Eagle Star's approved repairers are contracted to provide a courtesy car, but have the choice of running their own fleets or sourcing replacements from rental companies, with a fixed labour rate regardless of which option they chose.

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