In the continuing cycle this year there has been no appreciation of business throughout the industry. Perhaps this is because not a day goes by without some insurer or appointed administrator undermining proposed operating mandates which takes a great deal of effort to justify and understand to keep pace with it all.
The mandates appear to be driven through fear or favouritism or as in relevant media terms mentioned should this be determined as industry capture? The results are glaringly evident in decreasing customer satisfaction surveys, unsatisfactory repair and rising cost due to redirection avoiding the principle of accredited safety through standards.
Recently with the cold-blooded murder of a tow truck operator in a drive-by shooting outside his house, it has revealed the real sinister side of the collision repair business in the local market place. There is a cavalier approach at street level that makes a huge difference to the normal operational workflows of an alternative businesses’ ability to remain solvent, so it is because of perceived work steering going on.
It is time that we engage with some industry heavyweight testosterone investigative journalists to get real-time information about these clandestine activities that seem to be ruling the roost against normal business practises.
Should normal and mature forums not be allowing for equitable and level playing fields, it now seems consumer awareness and against the principles of clandestine operations now be publicly exposed.
VDQ Professional Designation and Vehicle Damage Quantification Governance Body of South Africa
A misconception of the role of the Vehicle Damage Quantifier and that of the governing board (VDQGBSA) exists and in an attempt to ensure a better understanding of the implementation and requirements hereof a preview of this new standard is summarised for guidance.
The main focus is to develop assessors and estimators, manage the National VDQ qualification (Benchmarked with similar International Qualifications), educate members through continuous training on changing technology in new vehicles, apply ethics and good governance and ensure they stay relevant within industry requirements confirmed by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) framework.
The outcome is a qualified VDQ (Estimator and Assessor) with a Professional VDQ Designation which will most probably in the future become the industry standard. This is the catalyst that determines the cost and quality of vehicle repairs between the Client, OEM, MBR and Insurance Company. As this is not a prerequisite at the moment, but due to continuous advancement of motor vehicles, infrastructure, technology and the insurance industry changing their operating models this will be of benefit to the consumer in creating a legally binding contract to the advantage of a VDQ (Assessor / Estimator) to be qualified and to obtain a Professional VDQ Designation.
It is extremely important to note that a large number of persons who operate in this career choice have a huge amount of experience and acumen in the field of damage quantification and will be recognised for their skills and will be afforded the opportunity to qualify through the internal governing board recognition of prior learning (RPL) and thus awarded the designation of professional status. The requirements vary depending on certain criteria of expertise and artisan qualification but will be confirmed through submission of Portfolio of evidence (POE) and fast-tracked to be awarded the Professional status. Detailed application and information are available through the VDQGBSA office via e-mail contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professional VDQ appointed persons have the opportunity at their discretion to obtain the SAQA qualification by application through an Accredited VDQ Assessment Centre and complete the summative assessment exam and obtain the registered qualification. Less experienced candidates will also be afforded RPL qualification support through gap curriculum completion by registration and attendance at accredited training providers.
The VDQGBSA is a newly created professional structure and requires funding for promotion and market recognition and thus incentive discounts for early renewal payment of membership have been offered through current registration but are limited to payments completed before the end of May 2019 only, or otherwise, the full value will become due and payable.
To summarise, the main aim is to the upskill with the continued development of damage quantifiers (Assessors and Estimators) to an international standard and to regulate the sector to endorse professionalism and embed integrity.
On a lighter note, I am pleased to inform the CRA membership that we have implemented an all-new information service on methods of repair. These are vital in the way a body shop approaches the newer and much more technologically advanced cars that now occupy the road.
We are confident that this move to release up to 882 model repair methods that fully cover such things as body diagrams, quoting, assistance replacement methods, electrical information, approved welding repair techniques, glass replacement, bonding applications and body alignment will eventually become a major competitive advantage for the CRA membership.
This will initially be introduced on a no-charge basis for our entire membership base. These modules are set out to cover over 500 cars and models in current world production. They will also be able to assist with models of up to 10 years of age for the older car repair in the market.
This innovative helpline initiative will also be ideal for estimation operators as well as body shop repairing technicians.
For more information call the CRA on 0861 726 272.
By Steve Kessel