Brian Joss – The South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association (SAMBRA), whose members are responsible for repairing over 80% of all insured repair claims in the country, has put in an urgent appeal to the insurance sector, through the South African Insurance Association (SAIA), to consider alternate payment and fee arrangements for at least the next 30 days.
Richard Green, national director of SAMBRA, an association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), says it is critical for the sustainability of the sector that members are paid immediately on submission of invoice and that the insurers consider foregoing all settlement discounts for at least the next 30 days. “We are critically aware of the crisis that faces the country and the impending damage to small business appears inevitable. If SAIA can encourage the insurance industry to pay MBR members immediately, irrespective of current SLA conditions, and do away with all invoice discount deductions, we will be in a much stronger position to ensure the sustainability of our members who are all predominantly small to medium-sized businesses.”
Green says that through RMI, the Association is also investigating all the various interventions which are being made available by Government and industry to lessen the financial burden on business and help cushion business from these economic difficulties.
RMI Chief Executive Officer, Jakkie Olivier, put out an urgent appeal to Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) to convince Government to declare tyre, parts and accessory retailers, as well as repair and maintenance servicing outlets for motor vehicles and motorcycles, “essential services” and not to limit their functioning as part of any business closures within South Africa due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. (“Some sectors of automotive industry should be “declared essential services”, The Gremlin, March 25).
Olivier said the services provided by the auto aftermarket sector need to be viewed as essential services to support other critical and essential services sectors necessary to limit the spread of COVID-19. “It is imperative that essential deliveries and services are sustained via a network of reliable and safe transport: emergency vehicles, law enforcement, fire prevention services, delivery vehicles, etc. It is important that on-going maintenance and repairs are undertaken to these vehicles to keep them in a safe and roadworthy condition during the Covid-19 Pandemic,” says Olivier.
Currently this work is performed by both franchise dealers, motor body repairers and independent mechanical workshops (RMI members) throughout South Africa. The same applies to tyre, parts and accessory retailers, which are required to provide an uninterrupted supply of both service- and safety critical components for motor vehicles, especially for the public transport sector that includes buses and minibus taxis.
CAPTION: Crisis: Richard Green, national director of SAMBRA.