IAG's plan to open collision repair shop may limit consumers' choice – industry body

IAG's plan to open collision repair shop may limit consumers' choice – industry body | Insurance Business


IAG New Zealand is set to open its first wholly owned collision repair shop in Auckland next month – but an industry body has warned that the move may limit consumers’ freedom of choice.

IAG announced earlier in the year that its first collision repair shop will be trialled in East Tamaki, Auckland with the aim of integrating auto repairs into the claims lodgement process and lowering wait times.

IAG executive manager claims services Dean MacGregor says the new process will aim to address the frustrations customers currently face around the process, and use enhanced technology and techniques from the international car industry.

“One of their real frustrations revolves around the process and not knowing what is going to happen next, or how long it will take,” MacGregor said.

“Repairhub will use cutting-edge technologies and stream-lined processes to provide greater customer experience, further improve quality and get our customers’ cars back on the road quicker. From the moment a customer lodges a claim to when they pick up their repaired vehicle, Repairhub will have the customer’s needs at the heart of its operations.”

However, Neil Pritchard, general manager of the Collision Repair Association (CRA), told TVNZ that the potential lack of choice to the consumer is concerning.

Read more: IAG to open its own repair shop in Auckland

“Freedom of choice will be eroded in this new model because not only have IAG said they’re going to open their own shop which is due to open next month, they’ve said they’re going to change the wording of their policy to restrict choice,” said Pritchard.  “If you want choice of repairer, you will pay extra in your premium.”

And while Pritchard said that the CRA are “quite comfortable” with one shop as a trial, the prospect of the insurer expanding the number is alarming.

“What if there’s then more and more shops? Does it then become anti-competitive? I would say that it does,” he told TVNZ.