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Norwich Union's Solus chain to add 12 new links

Solus Accident Repair Centre, the Norwich Union branded bodyshop group, is looking to set up 12 new outlets over the next few years as it looks to exploit its sole supply relationship with the insurance giant.

The £18m turnover company has five sites, three in London - Park Royal, Heston, Epsom - one in Luton and one in Norwich.

The expansion will make Solus the UK's second biggest repairer after Nationwide Accident Repair Services.

Norwich Union has awarded Solus an unprecedented 15-year contract to encourage the investment. The insurer believes that by branding the centres with its own name, customer expectations will be raised.

It claims Solus helps to absorb surplus repair business in areas where it has a high proportion of policyholders, although this latest move suggests Norwich Union is looking to tighten its control over the repair process.

The partnership venture is in contrast to the steps taken by some rival insurers, including Direct Line, Royal&SunAlliance and Churchill, which have opened their own bodyshops in key locations.

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