“Perhaps we need some form of ‘domestic’ block exemption to control the interaction between insurers and crash repairers,” says Malcolm Tagg, director general of the VBRA.
“If dealers can use generic IT systems across all brands to save costs, why shouldn’t repairers be allowed a similar concession to use the estimating system of their choice across all insurer brands?
“The functionality and quality is equivalent even if, in some instances, the time allowances are not,” he adds.
According to Tagg, repairers should be allowed to obtain ‘real times’ for a repair. This would, as in the dealer situation, avoid duplication of technology and remove the excessive cost of having to run more than one system to suit different masters.
If regulations were to be introduced, Tagg believes that the trade associations should work with the insurers, with the former being the driving force.
“There is little point in having industry regulators when it can regulate itself,” he says.
“But until insurance rating returns to its original premise of the premium paid directly relating to the actual risk run and the costs of properly indemnifying the policyholder, it will remain a cost driven commodity relying on being cheap to sell.”