SMART car accident repairs? We warned earlier this year that Vero Insurance were planning to establish their “SMART” panelbeating shops in New Zealand, after years of “success” with the model in Australia. We say “success” because customers aren’t always the winners, in fact we’re reliably informed that there is a thriving industry in fixing “SMART” repairs in Australia.
Vero are now actively promoting two SMART panel & Paint shops in New Zealand and the objective is to influence customers and insurance brokers into supporting this basic-level service. Refer to this link to review the very revealing 4 minute video: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyW24DVJNFqxL7Hyp0EmWltJTuAhQD42p. There are a number of elements customers should be aware of:
- damaged panels are shown being repaired & painted in place, this is completely contrary to industry best practice which suggests that disassembly is essential for a quality finish
- the bumper has other damage in the area of the main repair. This may possibly be pre-existing and/or not accident related however the customer has been given no opportunity to make the tiny contribution that would be required in order to fully repair to a quality finish. Any quality collision facility in New Zealand would identify this obvious anomaly, discuss it with the customer and provide them with the opportunity to return the WHOLE panel to good condition. This was not done by the SMART shop.
- no paint blending has been used from the guard to the bonnet, again this would be standard best practice in the wider industry. The alternative relies on an absolutely PERFECT colour match, something that would seem highly unlikely on a 10 year old gold car! While the factory paint formula will no doubt have been used, a 10yr old car will have faded considerably in harsh Australasian sun conditions – good luck!
- the guard was fully painted, however the bumper is masked through the middle so is only half painted – half a shiny new bumper and half a chipped, scratched & faded bumper – not a good look! See point 3 above.
No high quality collision repair specialist in New Zealand would produce work to this standard.
The video boasts leading edge high-tech repair and paint refinishing equipment, but in fact everything illustrated has been in common use in New Zealand for many many years. Vero also claims to cut repair times in half, citing the job in the video completed in two days – but we’d expect that for a Crash Management job anyway. Delays are not in the repair process, but more commonly occur while waiting for claims processing and authorisation, and assessing. All procedures controlled by the insurer NOT the repairer.
The SMART panelshops are of course only intended for bumps and scratches and other easy minor repairs, Vero is still asking quality collision repair specialists to undertake the technically challenging large scale work or any job involving any degree of complexity or parts supply delays. Specifically Vero SMART shops to not cater for any of the following either, so what they can do is very restricted and excludes:
– Undriveable vehicles
– Any air-bag deployment
– Any leaking fluids incl radiator, air conditioning, engine or transmission, or brakes
– Any broken glass, locks, or interior damage
– Any job involving a mechanical component (excludes the above, plus any suspension etc)
– Any vehicle over 2.4m high
The other issue not covered by the promo video is convenience. Vero have a SMART panelshop in Christchurch and one in far North Auckland at Albany. We saw an instruction today that suggested a corporate car based in East Tamaki South Auckland should be served from Albany – a round-trip for the senior management driver of over 80kms on Auckland motorways. Convenient? Efficient? We don’t think so.
We’re also advised that Vero customers being directed to the “SMART” service are expected to PRE-PAY THEIR EXCESS BY CREDIT CARD. This won’t sit well with private motorists, and will likely prove impossible for many fleet operators. Conversely, Crash Management extends standard business terms to company owned vehicles including invoicing facilities.
We’ve endeavored to review the promotional video with a neutral view to see where the value for Vero’s customers might be. Apologies for our MISSION FAILURE in this case.