The National Association of Bodyshops (NAB) has expressed concerns about the Competition Commission’s provisional findings on the private motor insurance market.

The Competition Commission’s review has found that the private motor insurance market is not working well for motorists. While the NAB agrees with this sentiment there are concerns surrounding the evidence that too many accident repairs are not carried out to the required standard.

In its submissions to Competition Commission during the investigation, NAB stated that cost control measures being employed by certain insurers could have the capacity to cause incorrect technical behaviour in the repair process.

However, the NAB believes the statistically small sample of post-repair inspections undertaken by the Commission raises concerns about conclusions that may be reached. Therefore NAB believes that a much larger sample of post repair inspections need to be analysed, so further and more definitive conclusions can be reached.

Additionally feedback from the Competition Commission stated that “of non-fault claimants 94% of respondents felt that all of their accident damage was repaired; 88% felt that the vehicle was in the same or a better condition after the accident repair compared with the condition prior to the accident; and 89% were satisfied with the repair service overall (only 7% said that they were dissatisfied with the repair service overall).” NAB says this early feedback does not tally with the new findings published by the Commission.

The NAB believes that the various bodyshop standards programmes advocated by insurers have failed to establish a robust quality assurance programme. In response the NAB believes that a pan-industry adjudicator should be introduced to provide governance across the entire sector. This adjudicator should not form part of a voluntary arrangement as currently exists through the Bodyshop Kitemark, which is not universally applied across the sector, nor does it carry out an audit of post-accident repairs.

Frank Harvey, Head of NAB, commented: “The initial findings appear to address the issues raised by the NAB in their many submissions to the Commission during the investigation.

“The NAB will now review the provisional findings in depth in order to provide our members with a summary of the Competition Commission’s proposed plans to reduce the cost of motor insurance premiums.

“We will continue to liaise with the Competition Commission on the matter to ensure consumers as well as our members interests are represented during the next stages on the investigation.

“We will also continue to lobby for a pan-industry adjudicator, similar to that recently appointed for the supermarket sector. This adjudicator would act to address specific market concerns, to oversee any outcomes of the Competition Commission’s investigation and to prevent future car insurance market dysfunction.”