The comments follow warnings in the influential Car Body Repair Market in Western Europe report, which claims repair costs will increase by about 9% by 2007.
Colin Thomson, business development manager for repair network ABS, said: 'The report is right in claiming that there have been significant upward pressures on overall repair costs in recent years.
'However, the cost of a repair is nowhere near as important as the total cost of a claim. It is all a question of managing the whole process to minimise costs and maximise quality.'
He added that keeping control of as many aspects of repairs as possible and monitoring repair costs as they mount is vital. He added: 'Ensuring that the cost of claims handling and any third party costs are contained are every bit as important and perhaps more so. Next to potential savings from these, a 9% increase in repair costs could be easily negated.'