Maltese motor insurers want safer car repairs
Six motor insurers (see note), have pooled their resources in order to improve the standard and efficiency of motor vehicle accident repairs in Malta. This initiative, known as MIRE (Motor Insurance Repairs Efficiency), has now been running for over a year and is being led by Project Manager Ian Clutton who has over 35 years’ experience working in the UK in the automotive body repair and insurance industries.
Among a number of initiatives that have been taken up already, the insurers have now agreed to start using only repairers that have been approved by the Standards and Metrology Institute of the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (“MCCAA”). Mr Clutton explained that with the influx of newer vehicles to Malta, also as a consequence of the scrappage schemes, it is now essential to ensure that the accident repairs would be carried out in accordance to internationally recognised manufacturers‐approved standards that would ensure that the vehicles are repaired in a safe manner.
“Modern vehicles are built using high strength materials and include advanced technology that is designed to protect the safety of the driver and passengers. If the wrong equipment is used, or an incorrect repair procedure followed, this could easily jeopardise the safety of the vehicle and its occupants” Mr Clutton explained. “We therefore want to be assured that the repairer carrying out the repair works has been inspected and approved by the Standards and Metrology Institute of MCCAA and meets the required standard”, he added. “New construction materials and processes present a unique challenge to the vehicle repair industry, and the MIRE project is committed to assist all those involved in ensuring safe and quality repairs that do not endanger the safety or performance of the vehicle”.
Ing. Francis P Farrugia, Head of Standardisation, explained that the standard for repairers has been in place for a number of years and had been defined with the input of all stakeholders including repairers, insurers and assessors. “Our team of inspectors visit each repairer at least once a year to ensure that the standard SM1400:2013 is being met, and where discrepancies are discovered, the repairer is given a list of requirements and a timeline within which these must be reached.”
Asked on how this decision will impact the general public, Mr Adrian Galea, Director General of the Malta Insurance Association said that from now on they would be expected to choose a repairer that is approved by the Standards and Metrology Institute of MCCAA. “It is after all in the owner’s interest as well that his or her car is repaired by someone who has the necessary training and equipment to do the job properly.” He added. “Motor insurers are no longer willing to pay for repairs that are carried out by people who have chosen not to be certified and then carry the risk of even more serious accidents happening as the car would not have been repaired safely.” He explained that approved repairers are also obliged to provide a guarantee of workmanship for a 24 month period.
Speaking on behalf of the Association’s Committee, Mr Brian Fsadni, Secretary of the Collision Repairers Association which represents Garages approved by the M.C.C.A.A., said that the CRA fully supported this initiative. “We do recommend that vehicle owners ensure that repairs to their vehicles are undertaken at Approved Garages. Only in such instances can the owner be reassured that the car is driven away knowing that repairs have been conducted in a safe manner for the driver, the passengers and all those who use our roads. Apart from the vehicle’s appearance it is important to have repairs undertaken in a responsible manner and by those who are certified to carry out such repairs according to the manufacturer’s specifications. We therefore urge those repairers who are not approved as yet, to seek further information and apply for such certification without any further delay”, he said.
Mr. Galea confirmed that this initiative had also received the support of the Malta Chamber of Motor Assessors.
21 March 2014
For more information contact Mr John Attard on 21232640 or by email :
Note: The full names of the insurance companies participating in the MIRE project are:
1. Atlas Insurance PCC Limited
2. Elmo Insurance Limited
3. Fogg Insurance Agencies Ltd representing Argus Insurance Company (Europe) Ltd
4. GasanMamo Insurance Ltd
5. Middlesea Insurance plc
6. Montaldo Insurance Agency Ltd representing AIG Europe Ltd