Over the last decade insurance options have been wiped out. The old reliable mutual insurers have been swallowed up by a few large private operators who continue to sell under the old brand names.
Today, customers often don't realize who they are really dealing with. One example is IAG selling insurance under different brand names such as CGU, SGIO and NRMA Insurance.
The community needs mutual insurers to provide balance in the market. A mutual insurance company is owned by and exists for its members, delivering them high quality and value for money.
We never realise what we have until it's gone. NRMA members were conned into believing that nothing would change when NRMA Insurance was privatized in 2000.
People are now beginning to realise what they have lost.
Peace of mind that in the case of an accident their vehicle will be restored to the same or better standard than before the accident
Safe, high quality repairs
Choice of repairer who can be trusted
Hassle-free treatment of genuine claims
Fair and sympathetic response
Speedy claims resolution
Lowest possible premium.
A mutual insurance company is a co-operative owned by its policyholders/members.
It only exists to provide benefits to its members
Mutuals negotiate better deals using the accumulated buying power of its members
A mutual distributes its profits to members through benefits, e.g. lower premiums, rebates, services and other benefits.
Being member-benefit focused it understands the importance of getting value for money not pushing cheap jobs to maximize profits. A cheap job is not a benefit for a member!
Private insurers are focused on maximising profits for their shareholders by:
Selling premiums at the maximum price that the market will bear
Minimising the cost of claims and repairs to the cheapest the market will bear
The interests of the shareholders of the private insurer, the customers and the vehicle repair industry are different and lead to an inevitable conflict.
The customer does not directly pay for the repairs to the vehicle and the repair quality is under the control of the insurance company. This introduces an unavoidable conflict of interest for private insurance.
The customer wants a safe, high quality job at the lowest possible premium.
The repairer wants to do a good job at the best price he can obtain
The insurer wants to maximise its return to shareholders
The market is now dominated by private insurers
Prices for the premiums will rise
More aggressive claims refusal
Use of second-hand or non-standard parts
Re-furbishment rather than replacement with new if it is cheaper
Aggressive tendering to secure the cheapest job
Replacement of benefits with add-ons for a price premium