Around 90 RBS Tier A repairers have been asked to sign a contract committing to using the brands in exchange for guaranteed continuation of work. AM understands that RBS Tier B bodyshops will be required to sign a similar agreement.
However, the arrangement may be of concern to carmakers and bodyshops in vehicle manufacturers’ approved repairer programmes. A repairer for one prestige brand says: “Akzo Nobel is not an OEM supplier so there may be a question over whether its colour match capability is up to speed for all makes and models.”
Other insurers are expected to act in response to the groundbreaking deal for fear that their costs of repair will increase if Akzo Nobel attempts to cross-subsidize its RBS contract terms.
Under the contract it must provide RBS repairers with new equipment to use its products and handle with de-installation of existing equipment at its own cost. It must also deliver free training and full technical support during the conversion period, and guarantee “extremely competitive pricing”.
Neither RBS nor Akzo Nobel would confirm details of the deal and its implications for bodyshops in the RBS network. However, in a statement for AM, RBS says: “Following a detailed selection process with the major paint companies, RBS Insurance confirmed on March 27 that the endorsed supplier of paint to its Motor Repair Network is now Akzo Nobel. Work to implement Akzo Nobel paint usage with RBS repairers is now underway and all RBS Repairers have been informed.”
AM has also seen a letter sent to repairers on March 28. In it RBS Insurance says: “Due to the size of the network, the initial focus will be on the conversions with repairers who are already working to the new agreement. Both companies will work very closely with repairers throughout the implementation process and beyond to ensure that Akzo Nobel delivers the right quality standards and operational improvements for our network.”
Bodyshop consultant Robert Hadfield, of Auto Body Projects, says the development may cause friction in the accident repair sector. “I’m against insurance companies prescribing paint and material supply. It interferes with supply relationships and it assumes that a new way of working can be achieved in a clean sweep.
“My advice to bodyshops that have signed is to ensure that any promises the paint supplier makes are upheld, and to discuss any shortfall with RBS.”