Jonathan Castle, chief executive of London-based Alpha, estimates that non-fault accident assistance firms have only penetrated 20% of the potential £2.6 billion market in the UK so far. He said: 'There is a huge latent market for high quality accident management services in the UK. Alpha intends to take advantage of this market opportunity.'
In 1998, Alpha dealt with 4,661 claims and had a turnover of £4.8 million. Profit before tax for 1997 was £175,000, but the firm was affected by the Dimond v Lovell judgement in 1998. Making pro-vision for extra costs of the case led to a pre-tax loss of £125,000 on turnover of £5.8 million. Much of the credit hire industry is suffering because of the legal problems following the Court of Appeal ruling which said credit hire arrangements had to comply with the 1974 Consumer Credit Act, unless their contracts were specific enough to be exempt.