ATF Professional found out more about the assessor’s point of view after speaking with Tony Simpson, the new President of the IAEA.
With his father being an assessor for over thirty years and his fascination with such a vocation from an early age, it is not surprising that Tony Simpson entered such a profession.
With experience within the Accident Repair Industry and working as an assessor for 28 years at a major insurer, before setting up his own Engineering Consultancy business, perhaps it was destined that he has just become the President of the IAEA (Institute of Automotive Engineer Assessors). An organisation that he has been involved with for over 40 years and a role he describes as ‘steadying the tiller of the ship’ and steering it and its members into the 21st century.
With this century being described as the age of technology, especially in relation to transport, Tony perceives it as a time where the integrity and professionalism of the IAEA is as important as ever. “This is an industry that can’t rest on its laurels” he was keen to state. Because of this, the IAEA’s 1600 members are always being updated on new technology. ‘The architecture of vehicles is constantly changing especially with regards to build materials and complex safety systems, it’s imperative the engineer understands how vehicles react in the event of an accident’. Hence the strong relationship they maintain with Thatcham is crucial for the assessor to keep up to date with new technological advancements in the design and construction of vehicles and emerging safety systems, which is important to maintain high professional standards and make the correct decisions in vehicle assessment.
The Institute’s continuous education and CPD (continuous professional development) program provides support to its members which helps to enforce its strict code of practice in maintaining such high standards and professionalism. Tony explained how the examination process was robust and challenged members skills and knowledge and is ongoing throughout their personal development and competence achievements.
When discussing the salvage CoP, Tony said the revised document is a vast improvement on what it was. However, he was keen to point out that new materials and vehicle architecture can challenge the skill set of the engineer assessor to apply the appropriate and correct code. Tony said that the significant cost of repairing or replacing safety structures and features was making it more likely that insurers will be sending vehicles as Cat Bs.
However, manufacturers are placing emphasis on safety in their vehicles and new materials are designed to protect people involved in accidents. The architecture of modern vehicles are creating safer and stronger environments and with other new technology, evidence of impact may not seem so dramatic. However, it is the secondary damage that may not be so obvious which can determine the categorisation. Tony reported that even to the trained eye of an assessor there have been many examples where severe structural damage is found only after very thorough investigation.
This confusion over categorisation may not be helped with assessors now relying on images being sent directly to them on less time spent inspecting cars personally. Hence not being able to have personal contact to explain decisions. Tony said that this was just a sign of the times and there was a need to have professional respect and understanding between all parties. He stated that when it comes to public safety, for an assessor, there is never any compromise.
With a better understanding of other professions, Tony believes this can only help build better relationships and cross party cooperation. He is keen to find out more about the role of the dismantler and the challenges facing them. When he has spoken to dismantling and salvage companies in the past, he has always been impressed by the professionalism that he has experienced. Tony welcomes and embraces any new innovations and initiatives. With one example being how Green Parts can play an important part in the repair of vehicles. If processed properly and credible he sees no reason why reused parts with proven integrity should not become more viable.
When hosting the IAEA conference last month, he was encouraged to see companies such as Copart, SYNETIQ and The Green Parts Specialists promoting themselves and supporting the event. He would like to see dismantlers have a better understanding of the IAEA and is keen to engage but understands it is a two way street. He would like to create more dialogue with the dismantling industry and share each other’s knowledge and understanding of the challenges that everyone is facing. There needs to be a mutual respect for each profession so everyone can work more collaboratively.
To find out more about the IAEA, visit their website here: www.iaea-online.org