The cost of vehicle repair continues to increase, even as the insurance industry moves to help local repair garages close the gap between where they are compared to state-of-the-art repair garages, Bahamas First Group President and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Ward told Guardian Business.
According to him, some garages have been open to upgrading their skill sets and infrastructure in order to meet the demands associated with new vehicles with upgraded technology and build.
“We have actually had conversations with some of the repair garages here in The Bahamas with respect to the gap between where some of the state-of-the-art repair garages are in the First World compared to where they are here,” Ward said.
“The good thing is there is a level of interest from some of them to upgrade both their skill sets and their infrastructure.”
Ward added that Bahamas First has committed to assisting these garages in attaining this additional knowledge.
“We’re committed as a company to try and assist where we can to help those garages that are willing to make that step to get to that place, to the extent that we will even try to facilitate some additional training by bringing in some experts in conjunction with those garages to facilitate that process,” he said.
“The other part is trying to give them some direction in terms of where they need to go in terms of overall infrastructure improvements. There are some garages that are willing to make that step.”
Ward admitted that the move will be a “journey rather than an event”.
“It’s going to be a long-term project, but we’re seeing some movement,” he said.
He explained that the sophistication of vehicles is narrowing the number of accidents in recent times, but he lamented that the number of those types of cars in The Bahamas is not keeping pace with the frequency of accidents.
“Frequency is still an issue because the number of vehicles with driver automation hasn’t caught up,” Ward said.
“The improvements with engineering result also in less frequent accidents as a result of careless driving, because you’ve got improvements with some of the driver assistance software that helps, so hopefully we’ll get some reduction in frequency even though the costs go up per accident.
“It’s because of the design of cars nowadays, the kind of material that goes into it and the amount of sophistication and sensors and just generally overall more engineering. So even if we do see in increase in or an improvement in vehicle infrastructural repairs, there is no question that the average cost of repairs is going up.”