The insurance giant last month acquired four Lex Bodycentres in Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds and Luton as a “response to high concentrations of policyholders in those areas”.
But in a statement, RSA claimed that while it had purchased the Lex outlets to combat falling repair capacity, the acquisition meant “a geographical overlap of services”, which forced it to “terminate arrangements with a number of existing repairers”.
RSA has offered these repairers marketing support and specialist consultancy through CCC International. Some relied on the insurer for more than 50% of their work. A spokesman said the “genuine” assistance, provided at RSA's expense, would help the repairers to replace the lost work.
“We have retained the services of CCC so it's their skills that we are offering to the body centres,” he said. “Where the loss of our work has had a significant impact, there will be ongoing support over the next few months.”
He claimed RSA had no plans to buy more bodyshops at present, despite persistent rumours that it intends to create a 20-plus network, but could not rule out further acquisitions “in the future”.
It is believed the four bodyshops will trade as RSA Accident Repairs Ltd. Terminated repairers reacted with anger to RSA's decision, with several threatening legal action, backed by the RMI. Bob Hood, RMI Bodyshop Services Division senior manager, said: “It appears that RSA hasn't given repairers the notice required in the contract and I am calling a meeting for all interested parties.”
The meeting has been confirmed for April 6, at the RMI's London head office.