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ABP Club off to flying start

“We are not BRIC and we are not BALLS.” Chairman David Cresswell’s opening words at the inaugural meeting of the Auto Body Professionals Club were designed to clarify the new organisation’s position as an industry arbitrator rather than a pressure group, trade association or repairer council.

“This is a forum where we can represent repairers to insurers and work providers,” says Cresswell, who adds: “As a unifying body it is one of our aims to bring together board level individuals within the sector, providing opportunities for these like-minded individuals to influence the market as whole.”

He and ABP Club co-director Jean Hadfield, along with principal adviser Robert Hadfield, are close to achieving the objective of 50 members. Founded less than a month ago, the organisation has signed up 31 bodyshop members (mostly Tier 1 repairers) and more than a dozen supporter members.

The latter group includes representatives from insurers Admiral and AllianzCornhill, bodyshop estimating services supplier Audatex, and the UK’s largest repairer network ABS Bodyshop Services. The majority of the membership attended the club’s first meeting, held at the offices of accident management company Kindertons in Crewe on October 21.

For repairers, there are two levels of membership: Gold (£40 per month for up to three senior executives) and Platinum (£200 per month). The former provides access to the ABP website forum, daily e-mail news digest, repair industry guides, monthly management and insurance digests, e-mail advice and support, approved repairer councils, an interactive industry standards service, interactive staff recruitment services, approved support services and trade body representation.

Most (25 out of the 31 so far) have chosen Platinum membership, which offers in addition to Gold benefits telephone advice and support, regional repairer launches, entry to the AM 50 Bodyshops presentation at the Kassam Stadium, Oxford, on November 17, insurer/ work provider networking, carmaker networking, best practice share, market information and board level networking.

Insurer/work provider networking is perhaps one of the Club’s main draws: the object of these is private and confidential meetings between repairers (or their Club representative) and work providers to thrash out key issues.

“You give us the job to do and we’ll do it,” says Cresswell.

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