Monday, Dec 16, 2019
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Insurers: Local mechanics not keeping pace with vehicle tech

There is a gap between the advancements in technology in vehicles and the advancements in the knowledge of the local vehicle repair shops that have to repair these technologically advanced machines, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Bahamas First Holdings Ltd. Patrick Ward said yesterday.

Ward, who was a panelist on A.M. Best’s webinar on the state of the Caribbean insurance markets, explained that this widening gap will eventually become a concern for insurance companies.

“The long-term effect is what will happen with the motor insurance market,” Ward said.

“You have developments around the globe in terms of technology being put into vehicles that relate to autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles, and who knows what the impact will be down the road in terms of the motor market and what we know the motor market to be.”

Ward said his company benchmarked local repair shops against best-in-quality repair shops in the U.S. and found that the gap in existing technology and the ability of local repair shops to repair technologically advanced vehicles is significant.

“As you put more technology in vehicles, as you ramp up the sophistication of cars, what happens is that the repair prospects or the ability to repair that car on an island like New Providence or anywhere else in The Bahamas is being impacted,” he said.

“The repair facilities are not keeping pace with the pace of technology and improvements that are being made.

“That means we’re effectively not able to provide the same level of indemnity, because the vehicles are not being repaired to the standard that we like to see. It’s not causing a major issue now, but as that gap widens in terms of technology being put into vehicles and the facilities not being able to keep pace with that, our customers will see that as a deficiency in the delivery of service from a claims perspective.”

Ward said insurers in the region have to look at this gap in order to curtail an impending dip in the cost perspectives and delivery of service of insurance companies.

Chief Executive Officer of Guardian General Insurance Limited in Trinidad and Tobago Dean Romany, who was also a panelist along with Ward, added that the knowledge of insurance underwriters also has to increase, as the “technological advancement is moving much faster than the knowledge of the underwriter”.

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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