John Matthews, Fix Auto UK business manager, believes that having the first insurer on board will help him negotiate agreements with others. He admits that talks with other insurers are still in the early stages and no further announcement is imminent, but says they’re generally responsive and he expects several to “try us out” before awarding contracts.
“We’re on schedule,” he says. “Certainly we’re pleased that Fortis is the first big insurer committed to working with us.
“We’re still in discussions with it over volumes. We’re looking for a certain level of volume in order to deliver the service we’re committed to, but as we’re being given the postcodes we wanted, we expect to get the work.”
AM reported that several long-serving Fortis partners had been rejected by its latest tender process for contracts. These include Deejays Accident Repair Centres, Howard Basford and SJ Curtis.
In the past four months Matthews has recruited another three bodyshops: St Georges Garage in Weston-super-Mare, TST in Cardiff and Premier Accident Repair Centre in Derby. This brings the current total to 13. He says another two repairers in Birmingham and Wales are “very close to signing” and expects contracts to be issued by the end of the month.
Ultimately, Fix Auto UK wants around 200 bodyshops, but Matthews says progress is steady. He has been joined by Mark Hampton, formerly of PPG and Nexa, to help with recruitment. “With Mark on board we should be able to grow at twice the speed as before,” he adds.
Bodyshops are required to display Fix Auto exterior signage and reception branding, and their reception staff receive training. Once the business is established, Fix Auto will charge 3% of a member’s total turnover. However, Matthews insists repairers’ profitability will increase and more than cover this.