Thatcham is launching a vehicle based research strategy, with a clear focus on mitigating rising motor insurance claims costs.
Following an extensive 4 month review of Thatcham's future strategy, Chairman Bill Paton and CEO Peter Shaw have announced a significant investment in new resources which will put Thatcham at the forefront of research and testing of emerging technologies such as Autonomous Emergency Braking systems (AEB).
Responding to the challenge of combating rising Personal Injury claims losses, the new approach will rapidly develop Thatcham's expertise and inform the industry which systems are most effective in reducing the most common types of accident - rear end, low speed crashes that are the cause of the majority of P.I. claims. A key aspect of this evolution will be a more collaborative approach and closer engagement with vehicle manufacturers.
In addition to this, Thatcham will also be investing in new facilities to gain full Euro NCAP safety testing accreditation, working closely with vehicle manufacturers to improve car safety and design features.
Chairman Bill Paton summarised the change in direction; ‘Following Peter's recent appointment as CEO, we were keen to fully understand how the Thatcham business model could be optimised to drive increased value to its Members - our work on theft loss reduction and savings to the repair market from our Times, Methods and Training is well documented and will be maintained, but it is essential Thatcham evolves in line with the developments in the insurance and manufacturing sectors."
Peter Shaw added, ‘'Thatcham is ideally placed to play a pivotal role in guiding standards and influencing the rapid roll-out of the emerging vehicle technologies, as we have done in the past with ESC, bumpers, car seats and security systems. We have worked closely with our international counterparts in the research sector and can now see demonstrable reductions in accident damage frequency from deployment of AEB, which has massive potential to motor insurers and their customers. Essentially, if we can help avoid collisions in the first place, we can reduce both bodily injury and vehicle damage."
An integral aspect of the new strategy will be an extensive update to Thatcham's data, enabling it to provide its core products and services in a more efficient and dynamic way. This will feature an online portal where vehicle data can be conveniently exchanged with insurers, vehicle manufacturers and repair body shops.
Organisational changes include the appointment of Neale Phillips as strategy & development director, whose insurance industry experience will help develop closer relationships with members, as well as assuming responsibility for the Group Rating and product development functions.
‘'We will step up our traditionally high standards in the repair and training sectors,'' added Shaw.
‘'We will be updating our Academy portfolio from January 2012 with a new sustainable repair programme called ‘ready to repair', which is another good example of how Thatcham can use its knowledge and expertise to meet member requirements. We also plan to deliver more training content through interactive and locally based courses, to provide more flexibility for customers.''