The new Code of Practice has plenty of flaws.
One has to be concerned when the insurer’s new Code of Practice (CoP) that received its “soft launch” a week or so back isn’t supported by either the Motor Vehicle Dismantlers’ Association or the British Vehicle Salvage Federation, two of the main owners of the pre-existing code. It is fair to say that the pre-existing code was basically a good document but it required updating and it needed teeth. We spoke to BVSF’s Roger West to find out what the main issues are.
Roger agreed a new code was necessary but what the insurers and indeed the co-writers, Thatcham have come up with is not fit for purpose, it has no teeth, it is still a gentleman’s agreement, that a lot of gentleman don’t agree with, it is a financial danger to the relevant industries it affects and indeed potentially is a danger to the general public plus of course as with the previous code is open to gross manipulation. As there is no financial aspect mentioned in the code that compares the repair cost to a vehicle’s value, it’s hard to see that uniformity of classification will be achieved and of course this flies in the face of the MIAFTA entry requirements of the 2002 Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) regulations thus again, potentially creating a massive loophole for miscategorised (deliberately or otherwise) vehicles to fall through.
The way the system is currently, it will cause many unfair variations. Roger used two identical Mondeos as an example, both with the same “Structural damage” as defined by the new code but of slightly differing ages, perhaps, as an example, 1 year. One may be repaired by the insurer (using ANY bodyshop the owner chooses) and one may be salvage as decided by the inspecting “Fully Qualified” engineer. Both are repairable (in accordance with the code) but the salvage Mondeo will have a note on its V5 confirming it has been ‘structurally damaged but repairable’ whilst the insurance repaired one will have no record. By creating this Frankenstein descriptive the insurers are actually putting both current and future owners of insurance structurally repaired vehicles at a distinct disadvantage as these owners and indeed future owners will have no knowledge of the history of the vehicle. If the insurers require a “structural stigma” to follow a salvage vehicle around for the rest of its life then the same should apply to ANY structurally repaired vehicle.
Training is another big issue. Currently we are told that after October 1st, only approximately 50% of engineers will be qualified to classify vehicles under the new CoP. This can only lead to large scale misclassification.
Although the new code will now cover uninsured fleets, Roger is very concerned about vehicles that fall outside the code. Historic and classic vehicles for example that will not be classified and the descriptive “Historic or Classified” carries no definition, yet another loophole to drop vehicles through for financial advantage. What is a classic vehicle, a 1988 Fiesta or a 1960’s Lamborghini Muira…..or perhaps “anything” in between….worrying, isn’t it!
The lack of a need to categorise stolen recovered vehicles with no or minimal damage. No one knows what has happened to these vehicles during a theft or indeed the chase that invariably follows, yet there will be no record for future reference. The view of the BVSF is that if there is a claim there is a category, future owners need to know.
The understanding of what is and what isn’t structural damage will be critical when it comes to implementing the new code, particularly if there isn’t sufficient training for engineers. How can, for example an engineer with no experience in Motor Cycle repair categorise that motorcycle using a code of practice that “invites” frame repair, which all manufacturers are absolutely against. Both BVSF and the Motorcycle Association were amazed that the insurers would even consider such action.
Obviously air bags and the ability to sell provenance known units has been rumbling on for years. It was clear during the few meetings we were allowed to have that despite proving beyond doubt that these were fit for purpose, the writers of this ill conceived document would not budge. The new code, assuming it proceeds with little or no support has 2 years before it is discussed again. Unless the writers can disprove the findings of the air bag investigation financed by both BVSF and MVDA in that 2 years then the sale of these items should be permitted.
The BVSF have prepared a media document which will be dispatched during early September 2017 advising the public of the failures of the new Code and the dangers therein. A number of print houses have already requested copies.
This is a brief resume of the concerns the BVSF has regarding the CoP. BVSF will be expanding on all these points (and a few more) in their next magazine that’s distributed to members. If you would like to know more about the Federation, visit their website here