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Byers considers repair favouritism allegations

Stephen Byers, the Trade and Industry Secretary, has pledged to consider the body repair industry's concerns over what insurance companies describe as anti-competitive activity.

Mr Byers has received a briefing paper outlining the state of the market. It puts the value of UK motor insurance claims at approximately £5bn and says there are 4.5 – 5m claims a year.

This paper was also the basis of the RMI's meeting with a cross-party group of MPs at Westminster on November 21. The paper claims some insurers aim to artificially suppress the body repair supply chain by restricting consumer choice. It alleges insurers use a variety of methods to steer repair work to their own or their approved bodyshops.

The paper accuses insurers of determining the price of parts and materials through artificial price capping mechanisms.

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