This report investigates every bodyshop supply relationship, which this time includes paint companies, paint factors, vehicle manufacturers and the suppliers of estimating computers and courtesy cars. This is essential research for repair industry suppliers because clearly if bodyshops are enamoured with a supplier then the supplier will benefit from more business, and Sewells has robust proof to substantiate this.
The Bodyshop Opinion Survey also looks at insurers and other work providers. This is crucial, too, because even though five or six insurers now control the market for accident repairs, bodyshops can still decide not to take work from a certain insurer because of a perceived poor relationship.
And as the number of bodyshops continues to decrease – another important finding of this year’s survey – this cannot be in the interest of work providers because it could impact on their customers, the private motorists.
The nearest most insurers get to their policyholders is the other end of a phone, but bodyshops have face-to-face contact. Therefore any bad vibrations from a poor insurer/repairer relationship are bound to have an influence. Retaining policyholders is better and cheaper than constant churn, and customer care is a key issue.
What the 2004 Bodyshop Opinion Survey has to say about insurer/repairer relationships is, though, bad news. Repairers’ satisfaction ratings have reached an all time low (bodyshops are inveterate complainers, but there is plenty of substance behind these complaints).
This report also includes the only major poll of UK insurance labour rates and it confirms the present poor state of bodyshop profitability. Ultimately insurers have to realise that they cannot have a world class motor insurance business built on feet of clay.