Chris Weeks, Executive Director of the NBRA, recently wrote an email to Admiral Board after their decision of changing their network repairer strategy.
Please read below NBRA’s open letter and Admiral response:
SUBJECT: Motor Network Repairer Changes
NBRA wishes to state publicly that it understands the current volatility within the repair market and the need for all insurer organisations to position themselves in a way to protect their consumers and service levels.
However, following passing of the 24th October date that affected many Admiral repairers we do not honestly believe that fair consideration was given to many repairers who had provided up until recently, essential services to Admiral and your customers. The NBRA represents these very organisations as a combined collective, be they members or not. The majority of which are independent local or family run business who have provided service and loyalty to your customers over many years. Whilst it may not be policy to comment on rumours of strategic change, we did politely request at the time that if there was any substance to the rumour Admiral would at least provide the existing network adequate notice of work volumes reducing.
Following Admiral’s communications to their network, some of our members wished for NBRA to express concerns over the reasonableness of the e-mail notifying that some would receive zero new instructions with less than a month’s notice. Some due to their contracts coming to a natural end got only 2 days’ notice in some instances believing that their contract would be renewed as it had in the past.
As a trade body NBRA would expect that after many years loyal service, a repairer may have expected more time or engagement over how they may have been able to avoid the need for an intentional, significant, abrupt reduction in work.
NBRA does understand that Admiral is attempting to put their customers’ needs first, but this has put some loyal repairers in a potentially avoidable situation of having to find replacement work at very short notice. Some I can confirm have still not been able to achieve that.
Admiral’s own stated sustainability approach says it considers how you deliver the best possible outcomes for your key stakeholders: our customers, our people, society and business. Many of these repairers are small businesses and their staff part of society, so we are surprised more time was not afforded to business to adjust.
Regardless of the legalities, this has been viewed by NBRA as a particularly dispassionate way for a corporate entity with a respectable brand to work with Bodyshop businesses and we sincerely hope this is not now viewed as acceptable by other insurers.
We would invite Admiral to officially respond to this statement prior to NBRA publishing which we feel we have a duty to do as an industry body protecting the current and future interests of bodyshops.
Chris Weeks Director – NBRA / VBRA Commercial
Thank you for your email and the content within.
Throughout 2022 Admiral, like many others, has been facing ongoing challenges with regards to repair capacity.
Therefore, as part of our commitment to provide the best possible service and deliver better outcomes for our customers, we undertook a strategic review of our repair network and made some changes as a result. We are acutely aware of our impact on all our stakeholders, including our suppliers, hence this decision was an extremely difficult one and was not taken lightly.
We let those affected know of our decision at the earliest opportunity following the completion of our strategic review, and gave repairers around a month’s notice of new instructions ending. Through this notice we have hoped to balance the need to move to the new model in a timely fashion to guarantee customer outcomes with management of our previous network.
It is important to note that although repairers no longer receive new instructions from us, because of current capacity challenges, most still hold a significant amount of work in progress which will mean repairers carrying out Admiral work for a number of months. As is widely documented across the industry, the repair market is oversubscribed, with demand outweighing supply. We therefore remain confident repairers will continue to see strong demand for their services.
Although we cannot discuss the specifics of our confidential contracts, all steps taken in the implementation of the changes are fully in line with our contracts. In addition to those who received around a month’s notice, there were a small number of suppliers on shorter-term fixed term contracts that were due to expire.
We would like to again express our sincerest thanks to those affected by the changes for the services they have provided to us and our customers during our partnership. We also encouraged them to contact us should they have any questions or want to discuss our decision any further, and that offer remains.
We have offered to meet with the NBRA to discuss our new approach and the repairers who have reached out to them, so we can better understand their position.
Head of Motor Claims
Admiral Group Plc