We have already written about rising car repair costs (see article). With the top priority being to optimise losses, many insurers and fleet managers are constantly looking for alternative methods in order to reduce repair costs as far as possible. This search leads to prevention on the one hand, and to Smart Repair on the other.
We would like to focus on the latter term, which is a relatively new concept in the car industry that has so far mainly been applied by bigger garages. Smart Repair represents a revolutionary technology that enables mechanics to repair the damaged part of the vehicle instead of replacing it. At present, Smart Repair is mainly used for this purpose, as well as for removing dents without respraying and for spot repairs (i.e. only replacing a small part of the vehicle).
The benefits of this new method for firms are clear:
- Repairing a part costs you less than replacing it in its entirety. Smart Repair offers relief for cosmetic damage or for bumper dents.
- The vehicle retains its original quality and structure, giving it a higher resale value.
- Fewer labour hours are charged for, as the turnaround time in the garage is reduced. What’s more, the number of one-day repairs is increasing: Carglass estimates this figure to be 20% at present.
- The convenience to employees is also greatly increased, as they no longer have to wait so long for their vehicles to be repaired. Sometimes, the repairs can even be carried out while the employee waits. However, the majority of insurance policies – as well as some repair firms or leasing companies – still offer a replacement vehicle for the duration of the repairs, which means that the impact on this cost is currently rather limited.
- Insurers can also reduce their costs by simply carrying out a repair instead of a full replacement. This has an impact on your damage statistics, and therefore your insurance premium.
All in all, it’s no surprise that more and more firms are keen to learn more about the possibilities offered by Smart Repair.
We have noticed that traditional insurance solutions have not yet been fully adjusted to reflect these new repair methods. The excess amounts listed in fleet policies remain unchanged, for example. All the same, it is essential to invest in alternative repair methods. After all, the expectation is that the automotive sector will continue to focus on technological gadgets, and that these will become more the rule than the exception. Just look at the advent of increasingly autonomous vehicles.
It is currently difficult to predict what impact self-driving cars will have on your firm’s damage statistics. Nonetheless, experts are convinced that the number of claims will be significantly reduced. According to Mark Pecqueur, Professor of Vehicle Technology at the Thomas More University of Applied Sciences: “Scientific studies have shown that autonomous vehicles will be involved in accidents less frequently. Some researchers have even predicted that the number of fatal accidents can be reduced by over 95%.”
Vanbreda is committing heavily to Smart Repair, and this technology is now automatically offered as an alternative in our service provision. What’s more, we do not treat claims as a separate business; instead, we integrate them into a holistic approach to fleet management in which cost and process efficiency plays a central role.