Nick Rossiter, Motor Damage Strategy Manager, Allianz Insurance and Simon Schofield, Client Relationship Director at SYNETIQ suggest consumers change in attitude to green parts could result in a positive outcome for the vehicle dismantling and recycling industry.
Green parts have an important role to play in helping to reduce the motor insurance industry’s environmental footprint and to safeguard the future for society as a whole. While there has been some resistance, there are signs that their use in vehicle repair is finally getting the green light from consumers.
These parts are non-safety related items such as body panels, lights and wing mirrors recovered from Category B vehicles. Conforming to BS10125, they are perfectly fit for reuse and, by reducing waste and the need for unnecessary manufacturing, create a positive environmental impact.
As well as the green credentials, there are a number of other benefits. By using these original equipment parts, vehicles receive a like-for-like replacement. Any green parts will be sourced from an equivalent donor vehicle that is similar in age to the one being repaired and will have been subject to a rigorous inspection to ensure it appears and performs no differently to a new part.
This stacks up well against sourcing a more expensive and less environmentally friendly brand-new equivalent or an aftermarket non-genuine part that may be of lower quality.
Shorter supply chains for green parts also mean that repairs can be completed much faster, enabling the customer to be back in their own vehicle and on the road sooner. Rather than having to source replacement parts from Europe or further afield, repairers can access a large inventory of domestically recycled parts, most of which can be delivered within 24 hours.
Cost is also a significant factor in favour of this approach. Green parts are on average cheaper than new ones. This saving feeds into lower claims costs and insurance premiums but can also prevent a vehicle from being written-off altogether. Although garages have used green parts for many years, insurers have piloted their use in the past with minimal success. However, a shift in consumer attitude means they’re back on the motor insurance agenda. Greater awareness of the damage being done to the planet means consumers are seeking out more sustainable and environmentally-friendly options.
This was demonstrated by independent research commissioned by Allianz Insurance. Conducted in October 2019, it found that 69% of motorists would choose the option of a green part to repair their vehicle, citing the environment as the main reason for their choice (77%). This shift is encouraging but, as there are still some motorists that need to be persuaded it’s a good idea, Allianz believes it’s important to offer customers a choice between new and green parts.
Consumer attitude to green parts may change quickly. With Brexit raising the possibility of delays around the supply of parts from the EU, it could tip the balance further in their favour.
We’re yet to see exactly how Brexit will affect repairs, but the UK’s already experiencing disruption to the whole supply chain as a result of Covid-19. Delays to delivery are adding cost and time to repairs, while the closure of many manufacturers and suppliers during lockdown is putting repair shops under further pressure.
When supply chains are under such pressure, green parts come into their own. For example, during the current crisis, SYNETIQ has been able to ensure that large volumes of green parts are available to help key workers stay on the road. This has involved assisting insurers and fleets, including ambulances and supermarket delivery vehicles.
As green parts play a larger role in vehicle repair, all parties will see the benefits. As well as supporting the vehicle dismantling and recycling industry, their use offers a more cost-effective and sustainable option for the motor insurance sector, its customers and ultimately the planet.