Car body repairers have stepped up their campaign to tackle alleged anti-competitive
behaviour by some insurance companies which they claim is destroying their businesses.

Repairers are calling for the industry to unite and support the Body Repair
Industry Campaign (BRIC).

BRIC has been set up by the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) to carry
out an analysis of the relationship between the UK insurance industry and vehicle
repair process.

The RMI’s Bodyshop Services Division director, Bob Hood, says: "The repair
industry needs a project like BRIC backed by an organisation as powerful as
the RMI. For too long some insurance companies have been treating vehicle repairers,
and not just RMI members, with little more than contempt, and it has to stop.

"On behalf of the body repair industry BRIC will continue to push for
the Government, The Competition Commission, the Office of Fair Trading and the
Treasury to take a good, long, hard look at the relationship between insurers
and repairers.’

The RMI wants a number of serious issues to be addressed as part of BRIC’s
campaign: specification of non-OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or second
hand parts; allegations of insurance company collusion; cross-subsidy of insurance
products; insurer actions against customers (denying them the right to choose
a repair centre); MPs to initiate an investigation into possible anti-competitive
practices under the Competition Act 1998; an obligation on motor insurers operating
their own bodyshops to be VAT registered; an investigation into the pricing
structure and comparison of motor insurance cover within the EU; a system that
regulates insurer/repairer activity in the UK body repair industry, as an extension
of the current MOT Test system.

The Body Repair Industry Campaign is intended to be thorough and wide-ranging
and has in part been initiated by a strong message from Westminster that MPs
are concerned at what they have heard and are determined to find out more.

The RMI predicts a long and detailed investigation by parliament into the relationship
between body repairers and insurers.