Salvage Wire

Salvage Wire
Helping Automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Write Off Concern

A number of recent articles have highlighted concerns around total loss vehicles and how they are handled by Insurers, Salvage Agents and Buyers.

Questions about vehicle categorisation, vehicle sales and vehicle disposal have appeared in various trade magazines and publications such as ATF Professional, The Assessor and more.

Disposal of accident damaged vehicles has been a concern for many years, and was the reason for the introduction of the Association of British Insurers Code of Practice for Motor Salvage in the 1990’s. 
This voluntary code was designed and completed by the Insurance Industry to protect themselves against fraudulent activity that involved written off vehicles, and for many years was a very effective document.
Questions are now being asked about the Code and how relevant it is today. I contend that it is still very relevant and there are 2 actions that need to be taken to restore credibility.
Changes need to be made to categorisation, with category C vehicles to cater for repairable vehicles with structural damage and category D being available only to repairable vehicles without structural damage.
The Code must be enforced, with significant fines being applied for Insurers and Salvage Agents that fail to adhere to the code.

Enforcement of the Code is essential to prevent two possible outcomes:
Complete avoidance of the code
Legislation that could seriously impact the industry

Complete avoidance of the code is not desirable because this then removes all safety and ethical standards and takes us back to the free-for-all that prompted the industry to introduce the Code in the first place
Legislation is unpredictable, it could be great for the industry if it is well thought out and sensible, or it could be a knee-jerk action that results in significant changes and difficulties for the UK Motor Salvage industry.

New technology is coming into vehicles all the time, advances in structural techniques, electronics and vehicle power are making vehicles more and more complicated, and failure to deal with these vehicles properly could result in serious injury or death if one of these vehicles is not repaired correctly and fails to perform as intended in the event of another serious incident.

So, what should be done? 
Industry professionals must get together and resolve this, and quickly - Insurers, Salvage Specialists and Government Agencies all need to be involved with a deadline for resolution; at the same time Insurers must be seen to put their own house in order, open their processes and records for independent auditing, salvage agents must do the same, and Government Agencies must release records showing volumes of vehicles exported, scrapped, back in use, and missing, as well as start showing serious progress on illegal vehicle recyclers - either getting them licensed or out of business.

Is this not too much to ask?

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