Representing the Automotive Service Association's (ASA) Collision Division, Jerry Burns, AAM, ASA chairman, and Denise Caspersen, manager of ASA's Collision Division, recently toured the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre - or Thatcham, as it is more widely known - in Berkshire, United Kingdom.
The tour was scheduled to coincide with ASA's participation in the International Bodyshop Industry Symposium (IBIS) in London June 9-11. The theme of IBIS 2010 was "Raise the Standard."
Standards developed by Thatcham involve all stakeholders and industry segments, including repairers and insurance companies, said Burns. "It alleviates conflict between the two groups while ensuring each vehicle is repaired to specification from the vehicle manufacturer," he said. Thatcham's ability to move the standards issue forward is something ASA has been monitoring for some time.
The main aim of Thatcham is to carry out research targeted at containing or reducing the cost of motor insurance claims, while maintaining safety and quality standards. Thatcham was established in 1969 by British insurers.
"ASA's board of directors and Collision Division Operations Committee continue to see value in industry standards," said Caspersen. "In addition to alleviating conflicts between repairers and insurance companies, these standards lead to an outstanding level of consistency in processes, skills, equipment and materials. ASA's Collision Division Operations Committee first began discussions with Thatcham regarding standards during the International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) in 2007."
Employing more than 150 people, the Thatcham center is well-equipped with a range of collision repair equipment used for both research and training purposes. It also has a vehicle impact testing laboratory and a sled facility for nondestructive testing.