Operations director Steve Bury, previously an ICI Autocolor business development manager, said Plexus would achieve its objectives by utilising modern technology to improve communications, speed up the repair process, and minimise costs “for everyone in the chain”.
The system, which can be fully branded for insurers, brokers or carmakers, empowers policyholders to notify a claim via Plexus' interactive website (www.plexusonline.co.uk). They book in the damaged vehicle with an approved bodyshop and can monitor the progress of the repair online.
Mr Bury claimed Plexus would remove the burden of customer service from repairers, enabling them to “concentrate on their key competencies of repairing cars”. All customer contact will be directed through a web-enabled call centre in Rotherham operated by specialist Ventura.
“At all stages of the process we are utilising the strengths of each trading partner so as not to overburden any individual group. It means we can standardise the level of service to insurance company customers regardless of location of repairer,” said Mr Bury.
“The only contact a repairer will have with the customer is when they collect or deliver the vehicle. The call centre will handle all queries.
“It means bodyshops can reduce the level of non-productive administration staff who have become an expensive industry problem.”
Plexus is targeting carmakers as well as insurers and brokers, and hopes to attract more franchised dealers to its repairer network.
Dealers have “put a lot of money into their bodyshop and aftersales departments”, said business development manager Rayne Ward, but currently account for less than 10% of the Plexus network.
Mr Bury believes manufacturers “will have an equal, if not greater, say in where the car gets repaired in the future if they offer their own branded insurance schemes”. He added: “But we want to offer a solution with and for everyone.”
Plexus expects to sign up more UK insurers before the end of the year. It is also in talks with several manufacturers about licensing the software across Europe.