The first meeting of the new IMI Accident Repair Advisory Group, held on 2nd October 2019 at Thatcham Research HQ, saw 17 industry stakeholders from both the Accident Repair and Glazing sectors come together to agree a way forward on standards that will future-proof the market as a whole.
“We are on the cusp of significant change in automotive innovation”, explained Steve Scofield, Head of Business Development at the IMI. “And nowhere more so will this innovation have a seismic impact than in the accident repair and glazing sector. It is the responsibility of those leading professional standards in the sector to support the skills and certification needs of the businesses that are relied upon both by motorists and their insurers. It was therefore hugely encouraging to see the level of interest in the first meeting of this new IMI Advisory Group.”
The Group’s focus is to ensure consistently high standards in technician competence for accident repair to provide motorists, insurers and bodyshops with the essential confidence they need as the technology evolves. It will take into account the rapid technical development of driver assist systems moving ever closer to higher levels of vehicle autonomy, plus the rapid transition to electric vehicles.
“Having had such a positive and engaged first meeting, our plan now is to meet again in December to agree the terms of reference for the Group, following which there will be quarterly meetings”, added Steve Scofield. “Once we’ve agreed the terms of reference, these will be communicated to the sector and all its stakeholders and we will maintain open communication to ensure that everyone involved in this crucial component of the automotive retail sector has the opportunity to contribute.”
The Sector Advisory Group aims to achieve consistency across all skills recognition solutions to ensure their acceptance and use in wider industry standards such as BS10125. It will also provide valuable industry insights to support the IMI’s qualification, accreditation and Professional Register to ensure it evolves in line with the needs of the automotive sector, today and in the future. It also aims to tackle the lack of consistency in skills standards, certification and delivery.
“The fantastic developments in ADAS offer motorists a safer driving experience – as long as repairs are carried out properly by fully competent technicians”, concluded Steve Scofield. “This is the big challenge right across the automotive sector – from bodyshops and repair garages, to insurers assessing and managing damage claims – and we are confident the work of our new Advisory Group will play a critical role in providing the right reassurance for motorists and their insurers.”
The organisations represented at the meeting included Autoglass, Aviva, Direct Line, Ford, National Windscreens and the SMMT.