A panel beater skill shortage is causing delays in repairing insurance customers’ cars, not insurer red tape, the Insurance Council reported today. “Neil Pritchard from the Collision Repair Association’s (CRA) claim that bureaucracy is slowing down car repairs is an empty beat up to disguise the failure to address his industry’s skill shortages” said Insurance Council Chief Executive Tim Grafton. “He has a short memory because earlier this year his organisation approached the Insurance Council to partner in joint communications regarding their skills shortage causing delays in car repairs.  Pritchard is creating tension between the smash repair industry and insurers that is unnecessary” he said. The unfounded allegation insurers are slow to process vehicle claims is inconsistent with CRA’s own research that insurers received recently that shows an improvement from the previous year in the score for the claims process. “The CRA needs to wake up to the real issues with delays in repairs.  They need more skilled staff who know how to work with high tech cars and they need more staff in repair shops in the major cities where we have seen an increase in both cars on the road and crashes” he said. “There will always be cost negotiations between panelbeaters wanting more profit and insurers wanting to keep costs down so that insurance remains affordable for everyone.  All insurers are asking for is the evidence of the damage to support the recovery of the costs which is no more than any other business requires when paying for services” he said. Insurers have strong relationships and trusted panelbeaters as part of their authorised repair networks.  Some insurers have set up exclusive repairer arrangements where the repair shop can self-authorise claims which speeds up processes and means no insurer involvement.

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