In the latest edition of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ (SCRS) Membership Newsletter, it has been reported that Australian collision repairers in Sydney and Newcastle are upset with an insurer-mandated "two-quote system" that forces shops to bid against each other.
According to the report, Suncorp Insurance requires two shops to submit a quote for repair, with the cheapest estimate winning the repair job. To do these quotes, the repairers travel to a “valet center” selected by the insurer (potentially a great distance from the repair facility), prepare quotes on a number of cars, submit the quotes and then leave. This allows the insurance adjuster to compare the quotes, and, if successful, go back and pick up the car the same day. The repairers believe this system drives down pricing and consumer choice and compromises repair quality.
The Motor Traders’ Association (MTA) organized a protest on June 1, then association members voiced their concerns the day after at an industry forum. The MTA is urging its members to not go to the valet centers and not do the work, and is organizing other “guerilla-style” protests to raise consumer awareness until conditions improve.