We all have choice, help the consumer make an informed one says Jeff Williams from the Australian Motor Body Repairer's Association?
"Insurers like the NRMA and RACV would normally be congratulated for offering consumers choice on new or renewing policies. The option called 'any repairer' alerts consumers they are being asked to pay an extra premium for a fundamental right to choice of repairer contained as part of the previous “comprehensive” policy, whilst being subject to the PDS
extracts from the new RACV/NRMA PDS’s
“We can choose to pay you the reasonable cost to repair your vehicle as determined by us. We determine the reasonable cost to repair the damage by looking at a range of factors. That may include quotes from your own repairer, quotes from NRMA Partner Repairers, our nominated repair methods for the type of damage to your vehicle and reports from our assessors”
However, you can’t claim under our lifetime guarantee if: you arrange repairs after we cash settle your claim – that is, we do not authorise repairs
Hire car after an incident If an incident we cover causes loss or damage to your vehicle and you need a hire car. We pay this benefit on top of your agreed value. Covered up to $100 a day for a hire car This daily limit will not apply if your vehicle is in a collision or crash with another vehicle, and: we agree the driver of that vehicle is at fault, and you can give us their name and residential address
"Independent repairers use the manufacturers' specifications to determine the correct method of repair not the insurer, independent repairers are not subject to contractual arrangements that may contain financial arrangements around maintaining average repair costs or repairing on a predictive or fixed price. Independent repairers committed to the MVIRI Code of Conduct may appear to be less competitive but are not under these insurer contracts to apply warehouse pricing on parts or labour.
"Under these NRMA and RACV policies it is quite clear these insurers are quietly confident that today’s consumers - under increasing pressure to maintain budgets - will opt not to increase the cost of their policy whilst not considering the potential consequences.
Having the two largest insurers control who and what price is paid for repairs calls the future of our industry remaining a competitive healthy environment into question.
"It is clear that both entities ignore our country’s competition policy and it would also appear that without business owners knocking on the door of their local politician, the status quo will continue.
Independent body repairers need to take action . As insurers move to expand greater control over the consumer, your customer.
"Repairers need to embrace their existing customers and communicate the potential in not ticking the 'any repairer' box which may see them completely lose all rights to choose who repairs their vehicles.
These policies may be legal, but they are another form of steering our customers into NRMA and RACV preferred repair networks bypassing the independent small businesse. This puts our future sustainability at risk
NRMA and RACV have laid the foundation blueprint for change to the industry.
You can remain silent and ignorant to these changes and that is your choice. The consumer needs to be educated so they can make an informed choice
The direction for change is in your data bases “use it or lose it”. What are you going to do?"