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 applauded the proactive measures announced by Hollard Insure and Momentum Short Term Insurance (MSTI) this week to relieve pressure on the highly stressed automotive aftermarket.
Richard Green, national director of SAMBRA, a member of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), put out an urgent appeal to the insurance sector, through SAIA at the end of March requesting alternate payment and fee arrangements for at least the next 30 days.
Green says Hollard Insure responded by implementing several solutions for the motor repair fraternity. Pierre Geyer, Managing Executive: Operations for Hollard Insure said that they were particularly sensitive to SME businesses that are exposed to cash flow risks, amplified because of the current situation.”
Cash flow relief initiatives from Hollard to support motor repairers include paying invoices for all completed jobs where the clients have not yet collected their vehicles; offering interim payments for all repairs that are currently in progress, subject to work in progress reviews and lastly, giving repairers’ the option for Hollard to pay their parts suppliers directly without impacting the repairer’s commercial arrangements, margins and profitability.
Momentum Short Term Insurance has also announced interim relief for the motor repairers offering liquidity assistance and volume discounts. They will be suspending settlement discounts in totality on all repairs that have not gone through final costing, for the next three months. In a notice to repairers’, MSTI said they realised that the lockdown would mean a sharp decrease in claims volumes and acknowledged that even post lockdown they expect, in all likelihood, to see a staggered approach for people returning to work, which may also impact claims frequency. MSTI confirmed that they were willing to engage with MBRs on an individual basis and make available 50% of the initial assessment costs upon proof that the vehicle is in the repairers’ workshop and parts have been ordered.
Green says if other insurers can follow suit, the industry will be in a much stronger position to ensure the sustainability of its businesses’ that are all predominantly small to medium-sized businesses. “Our discussions with the insurer sector are promising and we look forward to further engagement with some of our other big insurers,” says Green.
“We have always spoken about the critical need for collaboration in our industry and this has never been more critical as we navigate through this uncertain period and into the future,” he concludes.
CAPTION: Proactive measures: Richard Green, national director of SAMBRA.