BMW April 2022

We at Automotive Refinisher are in some ways fortunate to be able to keep abreast of global trends and one that flashed onto the trade repair dashboard recently was that now in France all repairs to damaged accident vehicles will see the obligation for a mandated test report for any such repair completed with a camera diagnostics report to say that the repair needs to meet ADAS factory standards on all alignment procedures.

All this before the customer gets to put the all-important release signature on the clearance for payment form. Now that is a major step change being introduced by none other than the safety standards of automotive governance in France to protect the insured driver in every way – post-accident that is. 

To add to this development the big cry internationally remains that consistently poor public relations that are supposed to push to gain younger and better qualified staff for the future technical vehicle on the horizon in global markets is absolutely failing to attract new clever kids and prospective employees to this repair business where everyone knows about lane departure, cruise control and many other new innovative devices now being built in, but it appears no one wants a career in this business to repair them. 

Seems like we are missing a big trick on not getting to be much more pro-active at high school levels where in excess of 50% of jobs remain non-technical it’s a nature the problem which needs much more attention from both OEM producers and assisting a good keen next generation of skills that for sure will become necessary. 

But one key element remains a paramount problem in the collective repair business. How are you going to attract these key needs with such poor profitability or rewards being given out endlessly by the general insurance industry? The chicken and egg rules being a dominant feature when the subject to of delivering a sustainable trade future comes under the microscope when body shops will meet ultimately become performance based and operated concerns delivering proper compensation for those needs just does not appear to be on the highway of body shop repair right now.

For it is still the cause that insurance companies all too often only care about their shareholder profits and dividends when stacked up about the well-being of their process partners in collision repair in long term survival in profitability terms. Their focus remains wholly inadequate for the new skills that will ultimately be required for success in the future. 

One thing is clear – or should be by now – many large adjustments will in all probability need to be made post pandemic and equally important it will become the career advancement of our new skills recruits and it is then that talent development will need all the necessary training required to be placed on a straight path ahead as they advance their careers.

So when it comes to people development remember we will need a new mindset from a business chapter that has passed us by – and vanished forever it seems. 

Insurance Automotive Cash-Cow cover book delivers record profits with Covid-19

Overcharging insurance companies are racing in a windfall of profits and it is now a record of fact that short term insurers with their cash-cow automotive books racked up record profits with a record of some 130 billion Rand placed in polices during the Covid-19 pandemic year and with profits up by some 20% in general terms. When read against vastly reduced claims the insurers have a new level of retained profit of some 74.7 Billion Rand in their chest of wealth . That’s a whopping 43,5% year on year increase. Looking at the motor business new car registrations are running at approximately 800 per day in Gauteng alone and that’s all new business on cover policies, this plus it’s a fact that fewer people are driving to work on Gauteng roads or national highways across the country.

As usual these mind-boggling profits have not in any great way been remitted back into the collisions repair trade in the form of a more realistic profit take for in the equitable trading with lower motor claims being enjoyed by the major players in car insurance cover. 

This plus the normal plethora of car approval repair contractual conditions which are now a constant form of micro management to improve by the looks of things on enlarged profitability on their all-important claims cost ratio levels. We’re beginning to wonder just when the collision repair trade will form some type of unity against these top down initiations formulated by our insurance greedy masters, but until they do, little will change, unfortunately. 

You can’t help an industry that can’t help itself now can you?

By Ian Groat