The South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association (SAMBRA) says it will now follow a new Pay Before Release (PBR) system which could impact how much motorists pay for vehicle repairs.
The association said that PBR has become necessary to protect businesses and their cash flow from insurer failure and poor payment administration.
“Motorists generally do not deal with a direct insurer but rather take out a policy through an ‘intermediary’, most commonly referred to as a broker,” said Richard Green, national director of SAMBRA.
“In these instances, brokers and other forms of intermediaries, act on behalf of the large insurers to authorise claims, provided they have a binder agreement in place with the underwriter/insurer,” he said.
“The motor body repair industry accept these authorisations and complete the work before any payment is received, based on the historic trust-based relationships with insurer business partners.”
However, there have been a number of cases where SAMBRA members are not being paid for work authorised in previous years, which has led to the introduction of the new PBR system, he said.
Impact on consumers
Green said that the impact on consumers will hopefully be minimal as this will not apply to insurer agreements where SAMBRA has a signed service-level agreement which stipulates payment terms.
However, he cautioned that this may not always be the case.
“Consumers need to be aware of the situation and realise they could remain liable for their vehicle repairs if their insurer does not settle their claim.
“They will be required to sign a check-in document at vehicle hand-over which contractually binds the vehicle owner to the full outstanding invoice in the event that the insurer does not pay the SAMBRA member,” he said.
“It is important to first check both the credentials of the motor body repairer and insurer with SAMBRA or SAIA (South Africa Insurance Association) before exercising your right of choice.”