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Zurich rules out solus bodyshop agreement

Zurich Insurance has dismissed speculation that it plans to introduce solus bodyshop agreements with guaranteed work volumes under Project Herald, its development programme.

Charles Long, Zurich motor engineering network manager, said: “Project Herald covers lots of things, but not this.”

Repairer speculation had suggested Zurich was preparing a solus arrangement deal based on an £18 an hour labour rate, with a guaranteed volume of work and a promised level of profitability.

A Zurich statement said: “Our aim is to gain a clear leadership position in what is a competitive market. A key element of our strategy is to provide the best service to customers and intermediaries by looking for ways to improve service.

“This strategy includes our relationship with key suppliers, including accident repairers. However, we are not in a position to comment further on any plans at this stage.”

Mr Long also denied the insurer was considering changing its approved estimating system to an internet-based product. Zurich repairers were required to invest in the Motex system in 1999, when the insurer changed its approval from Audatex after acquiring Eagle Star.

“There is no truth in this rumour,” said Mr Long. “We are only halfway through our contract with Motex and we will be sticking with them for the duration of the contract.”

However, he did not rule out an approval change when the contract was up for renewal: “All insurers are constantly reviewing their strategies.”

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