Brian Lee, risk manager at Norwich Union’s motor insurance division, believes that from January, insurance companies will insist new Thatcham Category 5 accredited tracking systems are fitted to luxury, prestige and performance cars before they will issue cover.
These vehicles are most likely to be targeted by professional thieves, who resort to violence or burglary in order to get round sophisticated anti-theft systems fitted as OE. “There are growing incidents of theft of keys, carjacking and thefts at petrol stations etc, and we’ve got to be able to recover these vehicles after theft,” says Lee.
Last week’s launch of Thatcham Category 5 – the insurance industry’s new accreditation for vehicle monitoring and locating systems – has set minimum requirements for product performance, installation, the support provided by its secure operating centre, police liaison and vehicle recovery.
Andrew Miller, Thatcham’s director of research, says only eight systems are presently approved, although more are being developed.
Retailers looking to fit them will need Category 5 accreditation from the Vehicle Systems Installation Board (VSIB) and existing VSIB-certified dealers will have to undergo re-evaluation before being allowed to fit the systems. For the first time, this includes police record checks of installers.
Dave Thornber, general manager of aftermarket sales at Cobra Vehicle Security, whose Cobra 2111 system is Cat 5 approved, believes the move will bring wider business opportunities for dealers. “It will bring back high-value vehicles to workshops, which could lead to opportunities to sell sat-nav and DVD systems, for example. In addition, if you send out reminders to customers to renew their annual subscription to the service you could invite them to take advantage of a system healthcheck.”
The following products are Thatcham Category 5 approved from this month: