The National Body Repair Association (NBRA) has launched an investigation into insurer treatment of the body repair industry to ascertain which act responsibly and those who take advantage.
NBRA’s director Chris Weeks said: “In the last 20 years the working relationship between insurers and body repairers has changed drastically. Originally consumers selected their own car body shop who estimated the time to complete the repair and charged what they thought was a fair rate following negotiations with a motor engineer.
“Over time most repairers joined insurer networks with fixed contracts and regular work volumes which worked well for both parties.
"Eventually as insurer supply chain management became more advanced and repairers became so reliant on the work, the overall balance of power between the two entities has arguably shifted firmly towards the insurers.
“As a first step NBRA is initially asking for members and non-member repairers to complete a detailed and confidential insurer attitude survey which will begin in August. The results will be collated by the end of September depending on how quickly the NBRA get a significant response back.
“We have been liaising with representatives from the top insurers. Our aim is to lobby and collaborate with them individually and work together in the interests of repairers to increase their long term prosperity, standards and importantly the ongoing relationship between the two entities.
“By working in a positive way and building on best practice already out there we have already seen insurer willingness to engage, listen and change in a controlled way when presented with honest opinion. This is an important piece of work and we are calling on the whole repair industry to get involved.”