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Thatcham – How can we help you?


For over 40 years, Thatcham has maximised our member insurers’ return on their investment in the Centre by minimising claims costs and facilitating claims handling. We specialise in the critical areas of accident damage, personal injury and vehicle security. The outcome is a range of products and services, which benefit insurers and their customers. We also offer significant advantages to a range of other stakeholders, ranging from vehicle repairers, manufacturers and major government agencies to small automotive equipment producers.






Driving our work recently have been the enormous strides being made by vehicle designers and their use of innovative manufacturing techniques and cutting edge materials. In today’s challenging repair environment, we’ve been working with insurers and repairers to push the boundaries of repair standards to safeguard motorists and their passengers from the dangers of unsafe repairs. Increasingly, we’re now in demand by the international business community, where our commitment to providing quality services and standards is recognised and welcomed. So how does a small company based in Thatcham have such a pivotal role in automotive safety and security both in the UK and globally? All our staff are highly engaged and aware that the work they do makes a real difference to real people. Everything we offer to the automotive community is carefully tailored to suit each of our client markets. But most of all, we see ourselves as leaders and initiators of essential change, rather than merely reacting to and chasing the needs of the marketplace. As you look through this publication, we’ll show you how we convert our knowledge into claims cost control for insurers, as well as information on how our core products and services are produced and the advantages they can bring to your business. Towards the end, you’ll find a listing of everything we can offer. But with a world of automotive experience at the heart of our company, my question to you is – What can we do to help you? If we don’t do it already, please contact me and I will always be happy to talk through any solutions based approach to the challenges facing your business right now.

PETER ROBERTS, Chief Executive, Thatcham


The UK government is setting legally binding targets, requiring an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. In June 2009, the government published policies and proposals to meet the first of three carbon budgets. It could be estimated that somewhere in the region of 4 tonnes of carbon is emitted in an average vehicle repair and businesses will be made financially accountable for this carbon output.

So just how does Thatcham produce the in depth repair methods, which are so vital to repairers and insurers for the safe repair of today’s technologically advanced vehicles?

Producing repair methods

Thatcham’s Advanced Data and Methods operation is divided into three teams, each of which produce repair methods for cars from a specific group of vehicle manufacturers - this allows us to develop specialists on the prevailing engineering style of each manufacturer. The main data collection system we use was developed in house, and features fully researched standard repair activities, which were manually timed and then statistically smoothed. The other important element is the unique skill sets of our methods production teams. Each of the three teams has the same make up of project specialist, panel specialist, parts specialist, M.E.T. (Mechanical, Electrical & Trim) specialist, illustrator and technical author. Our approach is to build the parts list first since this is frequently the earliest data to be published by a manufacturer for a new model. Once complete, the team bring all the other intelligence gathered for the car together, to produce the Technical Profile. This is basically a risk assessment, and gives an impartial view of parts and methods availability. Included in the 36 panels and 7 M.E.T. areas covered in the Profile, there are also alerts for unusual joining technologies or materials, so that anything out of the ordinary is highlighted. Around half the models analysed via the Technical Profile route go on to a more detailed physical analysis. There are three steps – ‘Early’ which covers off typical low speed accident damage (bumper systems, lights, front and rear wings, as well as all glass), ‘FM1’ which addresses common major structural repairs (box members behind the bumper system, as well as the sill) and finally ‘FM2’ which addresses all remaining structural repairs. Due to the sequential nature of the steps, Thatcham can publish data once a given step is complete rather than wait for all steps to be finished. The ‘Early’ involves purchasing all the parts affected from the vehicle manufacturer, which allows us to see exactly what is included or not included in any assemblies. We now have the vehicle in our Research Workshop, either hired or bought outright by Thatcham. It gradually gets picked bare as the team define the correct disassembly route, as well as solving any repair issues. The ‘FM1’ follows a similar path – even more of the car is stripped – but we also buy a bodyshell to cut open to reveal exactly how it was put together. Finally, ‘FM2’ involves removing virtually all the parts from the original car and further sections of the bodyshell. The result is that we can tell repairers and insurance assessors what parts they need to buy in order to make the most efficient repair, the location of any strengtheners and where/if it is safe to section panels, the location and repair route for high strength steels, aluminium and plastics, and detailed welding diagrams. Indeed the user of our repair information has access to methods, parts data and paint data – all backed by our

independent repair times system. At the end of the project, the car is reassembled and delivered back to the owner, whilst the panels are returned to the dealer. Only the bodyshell is left to go to the scrap yard, having performed a vital task in guiding our team in their mission to provide timely repair data to help repairers and assessors perform quality, safe repairs both in the UK and increasingly around the world via our products escribe and web based portal, Thatchamnet.

Methods and times – adding value

Thatcham’s data can improve the quality of the repair and improve the job process, possibly by at least 10% for a typical low speed accident, rising to 50% for a major structural repair. This efficiency is based on being able to order the right materials from the outset, together with the ease of use and depth of information in Thatcham methods. This reduction in key to key time saves money for repairers and insurers, as well as providing a better service to motorists and vehicle owners.

How do we do it?

• Unified approach to methods construction across all brands and vehicle types, saving an estimated 30+ minutes per job in not having to understand how a specific OEM website works. • One-stop shop means not having to subscribe to lots of different OEM websites. • The physically researched methods (Early, FM1, FM2) are all based on practical research, taking apart real vehicles and analysing real aftermarket parts. In this way, we can advise on the most cost effective panel to order for the chosen repair. • Job complexity is integral to our methods (e.g. the approach to remove a fuel tank for safe repair of a rear wing may force removal of apparently unassociated items like the headlining). • Method depth, essential for safe repair, e.g. Mercedes E Class saloon research showed 110 metres of adhesive, 5000 spot welds, 1.8 metres of MIG brazing, 77% of bodyshell mass is high strength steel (of which 17% is ultra high strength steel) and 7% aluminium. • We report on frequently broken fixings, so they can be pre-ordered and not delay the job.

Thatcham Quality Accreditation

Ensuring the repair is a safe repair

It has been a significant challenge for the automotive industry to balance the constraints of the need for lighter vehicle bodies to reduce weight, and the need for safer cars to meet Euro NCAP requirements which necessitate a strong ‘safety cage’ for vehicle occupants. This has led to the introduction of new materials, which are both stronger and lighter to increase the strength around the passenger area without adding weight to the vehicle, and also to the introduction of new vehicle safety restraints such as additional airbags as seen in the Toyota IQ. This vehicle has 9 airbags including a rear airbag, which is an automotive first, but adds complexity to the repair process. A vehicle crash puts very severe loads into a vehicle body. Whilst innovative materials and joining technologies can be used in manufacture, in repair, these same aspects create significant challenges for the repair sector. New joining technologies and materials require specific repair methodologies, equipment, materials and machine parameters to reinstate a reliable repair joint, and a repairer has to be aware of what is required. Both the methodology and the joining technology parameters should be covered by a repair method. Thatcham conducts Euro NCAP tests on vehicles that have had a structurally invasive repair to prove that the repair methodology we recommend actually restores the Euro NCAP safety performance of the vehicle. Combined with the new Vehicle Body Repair Standard, researched methods are now a vital requirement in the safe repair of a modern vehicle.

PAS Standard for R3 (Reuse, Recycle and Remanufacture)

Vehicle repair using recycled parts is a common practice in USA, Canada and Netherlands, where it has been proven to reduce carbon emissions and contribute to cost savings in the repair process. In these global markets, standards and accreditation have been required to support green repair, defining industry accepted tolerances for quality and compliance. However, in the UK, the industry has been reluctant to adopt green repair solutions. In developing standards, we must consider the position of all participants in the value chain, including dismantlers, bodyshops, insurers and others.

Thatcham Quality Accreditation celebrated its 3 birthday at the start of 2010 and continues to go from strength to strength. Rapidly becoming recognised as the mark of quality for products in the automotive repair industry and the aftermarket, this unique product certification programme has become widely respected by stakeholders, company buyers and consumers. rd

Today, under this registered certification programme, we are able to provide confidence to the market on products such as vehicle security products, repair equipment, including major safety critical equipment such as resistance welders and MIG brazing equipment, and new innovative products such as mis-fuelling prevention devices. Going forward, all Thatcham’s product certification activities will utilise the key processes of Thatcham Quality Accreditation, maintaining robust and transparent services working to internationally recognised standards. We are currently looking into the possibility and benefits of becoming a UKAS accredited product certifier, providing us with greater reputational support and international marketability as a fully authorised certifier/awarding body acting in accordance with ISO and IAF guides.

The car won’t crash AEB research

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems operate by automatically applying the brakes to prevent or mitigate collisions with targets such as another car in front of the vehicle. AEB type technologies could, therefore, make a large contribution to preventing and mitigating the most common types of crashes. In 2007, there were 2.7 million insurance claims. If up to 26% of these claims could be affected by AEB systems, then this equates to some 700,000 claims. Thatcham’s predictions show that AEB systems working in low speed crash scenarios could prevent 263,250 crashes annually and mitigate 87,750, making a total of 351,000 crashes that could be affected. These AEB technologies could also prevent 152,000 injuries, equaling nearly £2 billion savings in repair costs and whiplash compensation.

• Thatcham repair times are based on our practical repair methodology, ensuring they are realistic and achievable.

ThaTCham aUThOR: aNDREW maRSh, advanced Data and methods manager

ThaTCham aUThORS: aNDREW WalkER, Repair Technologies manager maTThEW avERy, Research manager Crash & Safety. DEaN laNDER, accreditation manager


US insurers achieve a 15.8% penetration of green parts use in vehicle repairs, with some insurers achieving up to 20%. In the UK, insurer green part usage is less than 1%. There is an opportunity for the UK automotive industry to identify requirements to facilitate the reuse of OEM parts, contributing to a sustainable proposition to customers and shareholders.

Supporting products and services from Thatcham escribe – Thatcham’s repair methods and times subscription Technical Helpline Thatchamnet - On demand repair methods with our global partners Thatcham Integrated Diagnostics Thatcham Parts Guide Thatcham Parts Analysis The Thatcham/TUV Certified Parts Scheme Damageability Research Bumper Performance Assessment Ratings Damageability & Repairability (D&R) Assessment Consultancy Repair Joining Research and Consultancy Crash Testing Electronic Stability Control (ESC) Research Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) Research For further information on how Thatcham’s research based solutions can help your business, please turn to page 20.

ATA Route Trend Graphs - The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI)

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Panel ATA Cards Issued 2000 1500





1121 1178



1680 1594 1639 1664 1517 1553 1441 1483

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Taking a strategic approach to training

During these challenging economic times, organisations of all sizes are looking for ways to improve their efficiency – often by cutting costs. The training budget has traditionally been a target for cuts during previous downturns. However, a major difference in attitudes to training has been noticeable this time. A common phrase we’ve been hearing publicly during the last 12 months has been “we need to be ready for when things pick up…”. Being ready will mean that key people stay with you (talent retention), your people and teams are ready (talent development) and there is a strategy that delivers this readiness (talent management). Training, learning and development are key to this. Undoubtedly, cutting the training budget could have an instant impact on the financial results. But there are some other effects that could be detrimental to the chances of success in the medium to longer term. We are all acutely aware of payroll costs and current times bring sharp focus to the task of identifying who represents your talent. Simultaneously, your talent continues to give their current role in your organisation a meaning in the wider context of their career plans and aspirations. They’ll be assessing their experiences of working with you right now and looking and listening for signs that their development is important to you. The engagement they feel, affecting their performance and decisions to stay, will depend on this. So, one important effect of cutting spending on training, learning and development could be on the retention of your talent. Then, of course, there will be the costs of recruiting and developing their replacements – and these costs are likely to be greater per individual! Taking a strategic approach with the training budget will mean that organisations will be ready to face the new demands of a recovering economy.

Driving repair quality

Since its launch in February 2007, the Thatcham BSI Kitemark™ for Vehicle Body Repair has driven a rapid improvement in standards across all the body repair disciplines. Success in gaining the Kitemark requires proven competencies, as well as specific use of equipment, materials and methodologies. One of the best ways to prove those competencies is through ATA (Automotive Technician Accreditation). There are two levels of ATA – Technician level and Senior Technician level, Senior Technician being more relevant for most repairers, as this assessment comprises the structural and more advanced repair techniques and skills. However, we know from our Advanced Data and Methods Department that there will continue to be new issues for the repairer brought about by the advance in new vehicle technology, which of course will bring new challenges to technicians. To help overcome these issues, we deliver training in new techniques such as cold repair (e.g. riveting and bonding, instead of welding) and other areas which are not yet covered within the ATA assessments. The challenge for the employer and the technician is to maintain skill levels in line with the industry requirements by undertaking regular CPD. Service and Light Vehicle Technicians have an ATA Masters level qualification, whilst glazing, also has a higher level qualification. The introduction of a master level qualification will soon become essential for panel, paint and M.E.T. particularly for repairers who may be repairing the more complicated vehicles on the roads today and in the future. Additionally, technicians themselves increasingly aspire to achieve better qualifications and demonstrate their professionalism. So our next step is to work with the IMI (The Institute of the Motor Industry), which has governance of ATA, and industry stakeholders to develop Master Technician qualifications. Training is an investment, not purely a cost, as Rob McWilliam from Thales explains above. To help maximise return on that investment, Thatcham can help determine what skill levels exist in a business and produce a skills matrix. We can then produce a training needs analysis

We work very closely with the industry’s stakeholders and indeed participate in the ATA Accident Repair Steering Group, run by the IMI to ensure that the ATA Assessments in this sector are current and future proof. We have representation on all ATA Accident Repair Expert Working Groups to assist in moving these standards forward and to assess the relevant skills required for body repair. We also participate in NOS (National Occupational Standards) development groups. Internationally, we have a huge interest from insurers and others who acknowledge our work in adding value to the skill levels of insurance assessors in the UK. There are very few places in the world that have our vision, our knowledge and our technical data, and we are getting interest from many areas including Australasia and Europe. We are developing programmes to train instructors overseas, to ensure that current skill levels are achievable in a more cost effective manner. In another 5 years, we expect the Thatcham Automotive Academy to have grown even further. Although we train Panel ATA Cards Issued 9,000 delegates a year globally, the bulk of which are in 2000 the UK, there is scope for more. For example, we currently 1 6 8 0 1594 1639 1664 483 1517 1553 1 4 4 1 1manufacturers, engage with some of the vehicle but I believe 1 3 5 3 1500 1268 78 that many 1more modern and practically driven repair 1 2 1 1 1require 974 1001 programmes to align with the more complex technology. 1000


Clearly, technical competence has to improve 1continually 1680 594 1639 1664 1517 1553 1 4 8 3 now 1 4 4 1also to meet new challenges.1 3We’re starting to engage 5 3 1500 1268 1 1assist 78 with partners us in offering management training, 1 1 2 1to 974 1001 customer service training and soft skills training, so now 1000 there isn’t an area of the industry that we don’t cater for. 500 0 The

future in our hands

In the UK, there is a shortage of skilled technicians in the repair industry. The average age of skilled technicians and insurance assessors is high and there isn’t a big pool from which employers can recruit. Therefore, training young people is the only option for the repair industry and from an individual business point of view, the best option. Every business has its own particular vision and to bring a young person into your business and develop them according to how you want your business to work makes sense. The Thatcham Apprentice Training Programme’s success relies on a close relationship between our apprentice instructors, the Academy, our NVQ assessors, who are responsible for going into the workplace to assess work carried out by the apprentice, and the employer, who also has a vital role to play both in terms of the apprentice’s manager and in assigning a suitable, experienced mentor within the business.


professions or even progress into owning their own business. And for those who choose to develop their careers by increasing their experience and professionalism in their own specialism, there’s the opportunity to work with a continuous stream of new technologies coming through at every motor show from the manufacturers – it’s a really exciting industry to be in.

Feedback webodyshop get from the proactive employers weprojected work to end 10 No. of UK apprentices end of 06, 07, 08, 09 and UK figures however that Thatcham figures are as with No is that they available, are delighted apprentices arefollows: being exposed to new skills and techniques, which they can 350 bring back to the bodyshop. They may be skills which  are not pass the NVQ examinations. 300necessarily required to A panel apprentice would not normally be required to learn about250 air-conditioning, but if they show an interest, we will  be happy to teach them. The more skills and information 200  we can impart, the  better.

Approx no. technicians of technicians ATAscheme through Thatcham No. of ATA same achieving as above or their from year started

No. of Kitemark bodyshops




ThaTCham aUThOR: BEN CaRDy, head of Thatcham automotive academy

No UK figures available, however Thatcham figures are as follows:







1000 700 500 0

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Apprentice training has got to grow. For some people, 100 the academic route is clearly the right thing but for others, the vocational route is always going to be a better option. 50 For Thatcham, apprentice training is costly but is something 0 to continue we need with for the sake of the industry. $ECô@ôôôôô$ECô@ôôô$ECô@ôôôô$ECô@ôôôô$ECô@ôôôô$ECô@ Thatcham is the biggest supplier of body and paint apprentices, not only in the UK but in the world. However, there has and continues be or a from significant No. ofbeen ATA technicians same as to above year scheme started No. of UK bodyshop apprentices end of 06, 07, 08, 09 and projected to end 10 No in UKapprentices. figures available,Prior however Thatcham figures are as follows: No to UKtheir figuresworkplace available, however figures are as follows: lack of investment to the recession, When the apprentice returns after Thatcham one the main reason1500 given for this was that businesses were of their four annual two week blocks with us, we know we 350 too busy to take on apprentices and now, of course, have given them new skills to take back to their workplace,  with the recession, the main reason is that they cannot and we keep a close watch300 on their status and their 1200  afford to take on young people. performance. The apprentice is monitored by our NVQ  250 assessors, who discuss any problems as they arise with  The reality for the industry, as Rob McWilliam points out the apprentice, the mentor 200 and the employer.  900 above, is that taking a strategic approach with the training It is very important that the apprentice  and mentor engage 150 budget will mean that organisations will be ready to face well together and have a relationship in which the apprentice the new demands of a recovering economy. For the young 600 is given the opportunity, time and exposure to the jobs they 100  people just coming onto the job market today, there can need for their NVQ assessments, so they can develop their  be few careers which offer such an ongoing assurance skills and be assessed. 50 300 of stability, opportunities to progress their careers into 0  management, the ability to transfer into the insurance $ECô@ôôôôô$ECô@ôôô$ECô@ôôôô$ECô@ôôôô$ECô@ôôôô$ECô@


aUThOR: ROB mCWilliam, Coaching & Consultancy Services manager, Thales Training & Consultancy

We encourage employers to invest in their apprentices, so they understand they are part of the business and have a future in it. The investment is relative in terms of the size of the bodyshop. Multi-site businesses could have 150 apprentices, so the cost for them is high in terms of mentoring, HR issues, loss of productivity and cost of sending them on the course, but the same principles apply to a small bodyshop taking on one apprentice. However, the return on that investment is high.


1680 1594 1639 1664 1517 1553 1441 1483




Panel ATA Cards Issued

to understand how we can help take a business forward and recommend a training plan. It is important that employers recognise the investment they are making in the delegate, so we encourage them to approach us prior to any training and discuss courses, equipment and the training environment. Employers are also very welcome to visit the Academy to see what we do. We are the only research-backed Academy in the world and we’ve recently invested over £750K in our training facilities. With this investment, we have created 35% more capacity in the Academy, including further specific VDA areas, more ramp space, more workshop space, and dedicated glazing areas. We also have three soundproof panel repair booths and a new aluminium repair facility.

Supporting products and services from Thatcham Thatcham is a global training, development and competency specialist. We offer courses in body and paint, vehicle damage assessment, ATA preparation training and we also conduct competency testing. In addition, for young people just entering the industry, have a unique apprentice training programme, based at our Apprentice Academy at Thatcham. Other courses are available either at our main site in Thatcham or our regional hub in Nuneaton. Full details of all our courses and availability is on We can also offer bespoke training both in the UK and overseas – please contact us to discuss your requirements.



The ABI (Association of British Insurers) in their 2007 Annual Motor Claims report indicated the diminishing impact of motor accident damage claims and the dramatic increase in personal injury costs (graph below). Personal injury comprises a high proportion of whiplash claims, as well as claims for more serious injury suffered in high speed crashes with other vehicles or in ‘single vehicle’ claims – commonly termed ‘loss of control’. It also comprises claims for pedestrian injury, a low frequency but highly injurious accident. The latter claims are of very high value, often reaching into millions of pounds. 




Graph of percentage of total UK motor claims by type and year1

In 2008, the ABI published statistics for whiplash claims: ‘over 430,000 people claimed for whiplash in 2007, up by a quarter in the last five years. These claims cost nearly £2 billion a year in compensation. The UK is the whiplash capital of Europe: 75% of motor personal injury claims are for whiplash, compared to an average of 40% throughout the rest of Europe2’. Whiplash is the most common injury in car crashes, and the debilitating and painful symptoms associated with neck strain are a costly burden on the insurance industry, society and individuals. Although the majority of injuries are only minor, in a minority of cases the injury can lead to long term pain over many months. Around 1% of injured occupants suffer permanent impairment leading to a lifetime of misery.





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New test ratings for 2010 Model Year – 68% GOOD!

ThaTCham aUThOR: aNDREW millER, Director of Research

S E C U R E K i t

Mercedes-Benz Pro-Active Head Restraint during deployment.


Although researchers still do not understand the mechanisms of whiplash injury, many agree that the risk of injury can be reduced through good seat design as it is important to limit differential movement of the head and the body. The key to effective whiplash injury prevention is the car’s seat, and in particular, the size and placement of the head restraint and its ability to lock. Thatcham’s testing aims to limit the differential movement by encouraging the manufacturers to keep the head and body moving together. Only a head restraint that is very close to the head can do this. We have been testing seats using our dedicated seat test facility since 2004.

The results for the 2010 Model Year are compiled from ratings for new seats tested, in addition to the ratings from previous year’s testing that are carried over. The manufacturers do not change their seat designs every year, in which case we are able to carry over the result from a previous year to the current year, if the car is still on sale. Ratings for cars that have ceased production are removed. So from the new seats tested for the 2010 Model Year update 68% were rated ‘Good’. This increase in ‘Good’ rated seats for new models has an effect on the whole fleet when they are combined with the carried over results.


“ The main goal of MercedesBenz is to offer maximum safety in real world accidents. First, all safety systems have to achieve a high acceptance of the driver. Our pro-active head restraint NECK-PRO therefore offers a comfortable distance between head and head restraint during normal driving and closes the gap immediately when a rear crash occurs. It offers both maximum comfort and an outstanding level of safety. Furthermore, NECK-PRO is fully reversible. The driver can reset it easily within a few seconds. Hence, NECK-PRO can be activated even at very low impact severities without technical helpline additional repair costs. Our accident research department has proven the brilliant of our pro-active i n f o performance v i e w head restraint available at Mercedes-Benz since 2005. ”

Whiplash: 2010 update

Director Passive Safety and Vehicle Functions at Mercedes-Benz, is very pleased about the good performance rating of NECK-PRO:


Volvo and Saab have traditionally been the benchmark seats, and they still continue to lead the way in protecting occupants against whiplash injury. The ‘ALL GOOD’ manufacturers have seats rated as ‘GOOD’ in each and every new model on sale. BMW this year have joined Volvo, Saab and Audi as the latest ‘ALL GOOD’ manufacturer with their pro-active head restraint design. There are a few other manufacturers that are close to achieving the status of ‘ALL GOOD’. Mercedes, Honda and Alfa Romeo have all seats rated so far achieving a ‘GOOD’ rating, but some seats are not as yet tested. Pro-Active Head Restraints (PAHR) are a recent technology used by manufacturers to help prevent whiplash injuries. An example is the Neck-Pro system from Mercedes-Benz. These systems are designed to reduce the risk of neck injury in a rear crash by preventing the differential movement of the head and neck.

W I T K i t

WITkit – the direct claims knowledge tool

tegrated diagnostics Ini n2009, Thatcham and development partner DSD launched WITkit. The mechanism of ‘injury’ leading to ‘pain’ and in a small number of cases, ‘impairment’, is very poorly understood. r e c o g n i s e d Medical i n s t a l l e rscience is unable at present to determine what physical factors determine these outcomes, whether they are muscular, skeletal or factors associated with For this reason, medical diagnosis v e h i c l the e i d e nervous n t i f i c a t i o n ssystem. ystem and assessments of persons reporting ‘pain’ or impairment’ are almost entirely driven by their firsthand account. This unfortunate factor has, therefore, created a situation in T h ait iis l apossible n d L t d for inappropriate claims for pain and which injury to be presented to the motor insurers. Some of these claims are merely exaggerated, but others are attempts to defraud the insurers and are often linked to criminal theft report activity of one type or another. As the insurers have a duty to actively work against those committing fraud, this is a particular challenge for them. Also, as the number of these v e h of i c lclaim e s e chas u r i tincreased, y types the settlement of legitimate claims has become more difficult for the insurers to judge. As insurers work hard to ensure that they are dealing with i n t e g r a t eappropriately, d methods claimants this situation is very unsatisfactory.

recognised locksmith

But how can these claims be better analysed, so that those deserving of appropriate and speedy settlement of claims can be served best, and those seeking to defraud the insurers are identified and removed from the claims process? The new software system - WITkit – Whiplash Injury Toolkit is now available. This tool provides a ‘probability of injury’ indicator for a given type of crash scenario, taking the facts of the accident and other parameters into account. Using this tool, it is possible to more clearly identify those claims which, from a technical perspective, are highly likely to be genuine, and those which are not. This simultaneously allows insurers to fast-track deserving claims and to challenge those which may not be genuine, amplifying their current anti-fraud measures. Further product developments are planned to increase the scope and effectiveness of WITkit, including frontal ‘whiplash’ events.

Broader PI research

Thatcham’s research into the other claims areas is also focussed on prevention of injury. For high speed vehicle to vehicle, single vehicle crashes and pedestrian impact, Thatcham has a strategy of working with the safety community and, in particular, Euro NCAP to develop and promote safer vehicles. Thatcham especially focuses on the development of collision avoidance technologies.

Pedestrian Injury

Pedestrian casualties represent more than 1 in 10 of all severe injuries on UK roads3. Car fronts are more pedestrian friendly than ever, following the pioneering work of Euro NCAP in encouraging best practice pedestrian friendly front ends and ‘pop-up’ bonnets. However, 25-45% of all casualties are reported to be due to head strikes on the road following the collision4. Systems are now available that can detect a pedestrian beforehand and automatically apply braking to avoid a collision altogether. Volvo has developed a third generation AEB system and will be offering Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Protection on the new S60. Volvo claims the system can avoid a collision with a pedestrian altogether at speeds of up to 21mph if the driver fails to react. At higher speeds, the system acts to reduce the car’s speed as much as possible prior to the impact. The system can reliably identify pedestrians taller than 80cm. Thatcham continues to drive better vehicle design to minimise and prevent Personal Injury.



Thatcham continues to drive better vehicle design to minimise and prevent IIWPG and Mercedes Neck Pro Personal Injury. Prof. Rodolfo Schoeneburg,

Supporting products and services from Thatcham WITkit – The whiplash claims solution tool Whiplash Research and Consultancy International Insurance Whiplash Prevention Group (IIWPG) Seat Ratings Personal Injury consultancy For further information on how Thatcham’s research based solutions can help your business, please turn to page 20.

W I T K i t

Thailand Ltd

Also, through ongoing research and liaison with UK police forces and motor manufacturers, methods of theft are identified and either designed out or alternative security measures (such as Category 5 After-Theft Systems for Vehicle Recovery) are implemented.  





The NVSA was first developed for passenger cars and LCVs, but this has since been expanded into HGV, plant and motorcycles. The NVSA scores are also translated into a 5 star rating system for ‘Theft Of’ and Theft From’ and these are available by vehicle type on the Thatcham website The recent launch of the new plant security scheme has been a particular success. Plant theft is a highly organised activity. Professional thieves may ‘steal to order’, targeting specific plant items in advance and using the services of legitimate hauliers, freight forwarders and shippers to move the equipment to the desired destination. It is impossible to ascertain the true financial cost of plant theft. It has been estimated to cost the UK between ÂŁ600 million and ÂŁ1 billion per year but, as much plant is self-insured, accurate figures are hard to obtain and the true figure is much higher. It is estimated that 10 or more items of plant are stolen in the UK each day. If an average value of ÂŁ10,000 is applied to each piece of equipment stolen then plant theft typically costs insurance companies on average ÂŁ100,000 a day and recovery rates are very low.

integrated diagnostics

Key theft and new tracking technology theft report

v e h i cReport’ l e s e c u r i t-y expert witness reports ‘Theft

Thatcham receives regular requests from insurance companies and the police for advice on vehicle security and i n t e g r awith t e d manalysing ethods to assist theft methods. In addition, Thatcham provides a ‘Theft Report’ service, assisting insurers, police forces and solicitors with complex cases where our technical knowledge r e c o g n i s e disl oac crucial k s m i t h benefit.

Thatcham and the police

– a close partnership by Ian Elliot, Industry Liaison Officer, Specialist Crime Directorate




New Vehicle Security Assessments and star ratings


“ By forming close partnerships with the police and engaging with stakeholders, Thatcham continues to be at the forefront of vehicle security design, and can inform and influence vehicle manufacturers with the latest innovations to reduce car crime. The fact that vehicle crime has reduced by 66% over the last few years is testament that these partnerships and the resulting Thatcham New Vehicle Security Assessments have dramatically reduced crime in the UK. The police consider working with Thatcham as paramount in order to protect the public for years to come, and the police services throughout the UK are very grateful to Thatcham for their support in controlling and reducing crime through their efforts. �


ThaTCham aUThOR: aNDREW millER, Director of Research

In 2000, Thatcham was invited to participate in Operation Igneous, a Home Office funded initiative headed by Kent County Constabulary to identify best practice in countering vehicle crime. This operation developed a system for identifying emerging vehicle crime patterns and trends. It identified a significant trend in which, following the introduction of standard fitment of immobilisers, offenders had to have access to vehicle keys. The understandings of this trend led directly to the discovery of previously unknown deception, fraud, and key theft techniques. This led to increased focus on the integration of the key into the vehicle’s security system and into new technologies which linked the key to the vehicle – we now have keys which record the vehicle’s start/stop mileage and other attributes. But these measures, although helpful, do not stop the theft of a vehicle and now over 80% of vehicles are stolen using the vehicle’s key, this having been stolen from the owner. So what can be done to stop this problem? Thatcham, working with other important stakeholders has developed the Category 5 active tracking standard for aftermarket and OE fit systems. The CAT 5 systems have an extremely high success rate at facilitating very fast recovery of the vehicle, Thatcham’s research shows that with 40,000 Cat 5 systems in market, the average number of thefts of vehicles fitted with Cat 5 systems is 9 per month with a recovery rate of 99.9%.

recognised installer

Thatcham Registered Installers

vehicle identification system Thatcham recognises the importance of an appropriate system installation and the fact that a poor installation can potentially undermine the integrity of the vehicle system. DueTto changes, Thatcham has reduced h arecent i l a n d industry Ltd this risk to the insurers and the consumer by providing a Thatcham Recognised Installer scheme. Under this scheme, system installers can register their services thefa t rcompetency eport following check and can be recognised by Thatcham. This provides assurance for the consumer and insurer of the high quality installation of the vehicle security reducing the possibility of vehicle v e h i c system, l e s e c u further rity theft. In addition, many insurers who offer premium discounts based on the installation of a security system cani n now rely on this registration. tegrated methods

recognised locksmith

‘Over 80% of vehicles are stolen using the vehicle’s key.’ Plant theft – not so easy to pick!

Theft of plant is perceived by criminals to be a low risk and profitable crime. Driving this criminal activity is the high demand in both UK and overseas markets, low levels of plant, depot and site security, and finally a low risk of high level police response, detection and prosecution. Thatcham’s Vehicle Security Department, under the direction of the Vehicle Security Steering Group (Plant), has been developing new strategies to combat plant theft and reduce insured losses with the engagement of a wide group of stakeholders. These include insurers, plant and equipment manufacturers, the police and wider stakeholders like government. The first major initiative supported by Thatcham was the introduction of Construction Equipment Security and Registration (CESAR). This scheme is designed to encourage the introduction of the marking of plant in a manner comparable with the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) system used for road vehicles. Finally, with the publication of the latest issue of the British Insurance Industry’s Criteria for Plant Security, both plant manufacturers and plant aftermarket manufacturers have a quality standard to work to, which is providing insurers and plant operators with confidence that such security systems can offer a high level of protection.

British Insurance Vehicle Security Awards

Every year, Thatcham holds an awards ceremony honouring the vehicle manufacturer who has produced the best vehicle in each vehicle class and also an overall winner. For the last 3 years, Audi has taken this award. The awards were established in 2004 to recognise those manufacturers who have produced the most secure cars, and to raise consumer awareness of what is best in vehicle security. In 2009, the scope of the awards was extended to include vans. The awards are based on the New Vehicle Security Ratings (NVSR) scheme. They are supported jointly by the Automobile Association, Department for Transport, Home Office and Thatcham, and are backed by the British motor insurers and other organisations interested in improving vehicle security.

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Since the creation of Thatcham’s Vehicle Security Department in 1993, the pattern of UK vehicle theft has changed dramatically. In the late 1980s and early 1990s vehicle theft was a rising, social and insurance problem. In 1994, Thatcham introduced the first new vehicle security assessments within the insurance Group Rating. Almost every new model is now subjected to a New Vehicle Security Assessment (NVSA). The assessment includes attack tests on the vehicle’s mechanical and electronic security systems. The attack tests include breaking into the vehicle through the boot, bonnet and doors, overcoming steering locks and trying to start the engine without the original vehicle keys. Through this action and through partnership with UK police forces, the rapid increase in theft claims was arrested and vehicle thefts have fallen ever since5.

Supporting products and services from Thatcham Theft Reports Vehicle Security Consultancy New Vehicle Security Assessment (NVSA) Consultancy Thatcham Quality Accreditation (TQA) Vehicle Security Systems Thatcham Recognised Installer Thatcham Vehicle Identification System For further information on how Thatcham’s research based solutions can help your business, please turn to page 20.

Thatcham Automotive Academy: Thatcham is a global training, development and competency specialist. We offer courses in body and paint, vehicle damage assessment, ATA preparation training and we also conduct competency testing. In addition, for young people just entering the industry, we have a unique apprentice training programme, based at our Apprentice Academy at Thatcham. Other courses are available either at our main site in Thatcham or our regional hub in Nuneaton. Full details of all our courses and availability is on We can also offer bespoke training both in the UK and overseas – please contact us to discuss your requirements. escribe: An annual subscription offers repairers and insurance assessors access to fully researched multi-franchised crash repair methods and times from Thatcham’s own research workshop. Easy to use and fully transparent, escribe complies with the rigorous standards laid down in thet Thatcham/BSI echnical helpline Kitemark scheme - PAS 125. i n fdelivery o v i e w Thatcham Integrated Methods: This methods solution, new for 2010, enables escribe customers to access methods via participating estimating systems. Users can C Uassessor R E K i t interrogate the Centre’s methods database; SasEthe compiles an estimate Thatcham Integrated Methods delivers, in real time, a crash specific methods pack. W I T K i t

Thatcham Technical Helpline: The Technical Helpline offers repairers and insurance assessors a one-stop integrated diagnostics interactive web portal subscription for reliable technical vehicle repair information with three distinct service levels, based on a guaranteed 1, 3 or 5 day turnaround.

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Thatchamnet: Thatchamnet is the online global portal to Thatcham’s fully researched, multi-franchised, crash vehicle identification system repair methods accessed through our partners in participating countries.



T h aIntegrated iland Ltd Thatcham Integrated Diagnostics: Thatcham Diagnostics combines Thatcham’s forty years of repair expertise with the diagnostic power of Delphi, allowing t h e fand t r e pfixo r t repairers to read and reset ECUs and to diagnose faults following a repair - without having to outsource work elsewhere. vehicle security

Thatcham Parts Guide: A powerful electronic parts catalogue for cars and light commercial vehicles, with an additional module available to cover motorcycles. Quick and easy to use, parts can be looked up and selected instantly. It provides fully itemised, automatically priced parts listings to speed up ordering and estimating. Thatcham Parts Analysis: A web based parts identifier and analysis tool utilising vehicle manufacturer part numbers, descriptions and prices. The system enables a user to create and save bespoke parts baskets and derivative samples for comparison of parts’ price trends across a range of 39 different manufacturers. The Thatcham/TUV Certified Parts Scheme: Combining Thatcham’s expertise in the automotive repair sector with TUV Rheinland’s worldwide reputation in conformance and quality certification, this scheme provides the UK and European body repair industry with an alternative source of proven quality cosmetic crash parts. Damageability Research: Damageability evaluation and testing is conducted on new vehicles to evaluate repair costs and to identify best practice. Bumper Performance Assessment Ratings: The new Bumper Performance Assessment is conducted on new vehicles to establish performance to this international RCAR standard. The results are published as ratings in Research News and at Damageability & Repairability (D&R) Assessment Consultancy: D&R Assessment is used within the insurance Group Rating process to determine the level of damage a vehicle may sustain and the ease of repair. technical helpline

Repair Joining Research and Consultancy: Repair joining is a fast developing area of vehicle technical o v i e innovation, and in depth studies of the capabilityi noffthese technologies are conducted. E C U R Crash Testing: High speed safety tests and Slow speed damageability tests are conducted on new vehicles to assess performance.


E K i t

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) Research: ESC tests are conducted on new vehicles to establish performance to international standards. Ratings of the availability of ESC on new vehicles are published in Research News and on Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) Research: AEB tests are conducted in car to car and car to pedestrian situations. WITkit: A claims validation and management web-accessed software tool, which is used to determine the validity of whiplash claims using claims detail data, provided in conjunction with Austrian Crash Simulation Software provider DSD. Whiplash Research and Consultancy: An ongoing comprehensive research programme into new vehicle seat whiplash prevention performance to the International Insurance Whiplash Prevention Group (IIWPG) RCAR standard, and specific testing and research for vehicle and seat manufacturers and others.

New Vehicle Security Assessment (NVSA) Consultancy: NVSA is used within the insurance Group Rating process to determine the risk of theft of new vehicles.

Research News: A free subscription to our regular web based update on all our research activities. Triple Focus: Triple Focus provides visitors with the opportunity to keep abreast of new products, developments and issues in the motor insurance, vehicle security and body repair sectors. Thatcham’s exciting annual event incorporates product demonstrations, live events, repair technician competitions and unique opportunities to network with some of the prime movers who are driving change.

Thatcham Vehicle Identification System: A database of vehicle identification data, primarily for use by police forces to combat vehicle crime.

Personal Injury Consultancy: Research into causation and prevention of personal injury sustained in high speed crashes and in depth case studies.

Research Liaison Group (RLG): RLG is made up of representatives from our member companies. The group considers issues to which they feel Thatcham could technical contribute proactively, ranging from insurance facing issues to vehicle related subjects.

W I T K i t

Thatcham Events & Publications

Thatcham Recognised Installer: This scheme reduces the risk to insurers and consumers of a poor system installation, which can potentially undermine the integrity of the vehicle’s security.

Thatcham Groups

Business Desk: A new service from March 2010, the Business Desk is a one-stop location that provides technical information, consultancy services and expert witness technical helpline reports on security, theft and fraud. Thatcham can produce a summary report for a single fixed fee or a full report about the vehicle and the modus operandi, based oni more n f o inv depth i e w case research. More can be found at:

Thatcham Associate: Subscription access for global insurers to a package of Thatcham solutions based on more than 40 years of our automotive research expertise.

Thatcham Quality Accreditation (TQA) - Vehicle Security Systems: The TQA system provides comprehensive identification of high quality and performing vehicle security systems, which are a strong foundation for insurer and consumer security confidence.

IIWPG Seat Ratings: Ratings of new vehicle seat whiplash prevention performance are published in Research News and on

Theft Reports: Individual studies into specific theft cases are conducted for a wide range of stakeholders, leading to appropriate challenge of cases which are not valid.

Member Company Communications Group: The Thatcham Member Company Communications Group draws representation from the Marketing and Communications functions of Thatcham and all of our member insurance companies. The objective of the group is to keep members informed of Thatcham’s work and to identify any resulting marketing and public relations opportunities.

Vehicle Security Consultancy: The security of a wide range of vehicles has been researched and in depth knowledge of security technologies and their application has been established.


British Insurance Vehicle Security Awards: The awards are based on the New Vehicle Security Ratings (NVSR) scheme. The categories, selection criteria and methodology were developed jointly by the Automobile Association, Department for Transport, Home Office and Thatcham, and are backed by the British motor insurers and other organisations interested in improving vehicle security.

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technical helpline Engineering Technical Sub-committee (ETS): Usually comprising member company Chief Motor Engineers, ETS deals with technical issues of interest to engineers and S E C U R E K i n f o v i e w repairers.

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Crash Parts Accreditation W IisTactive K i t S EGroup C U R (CPAG): E K i t CPAG in the development of Thatcham’s parts certification work with members drawn from our member companies.

S E C U R E K i t

W I T K i t

integrated diagnostics

integrated diagnostics

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RSS: The new RSS (Really Simple Syndication) News Feed allows all visitors to Thatcham’s website ( an opportunity to subscribe to real time news alerts and press releases. Subscribers will then be able to find out the very latest via their internet browser or email client with one click of a mouse button.

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integrated methods

technical helpline

integrated diagnostics

parts guide

W I T K i t

Quality Accreditation

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vehicle identification system

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PR SE O RV DU IC C ES T Products and Services


Association of British Insurers (2007), Annual Motor Claims Report, ABI, London


Association of British Insurers (2008), ABI Reveals Whiplash Epidemic, Nov, ABI, London


Department for Transport (2009). Reported road casualties Great Britain 2008. Table 1: Casualties: By road user type and severity: Great Britain - comparison of 2008 with baseline average and 2007. London, The Stationery Office. 24th September


Jarrett, K.L. and Saul, R.A. (1998). Pedestrian injury analysis of the PCDS field collision data. 16th International Technical Conference on the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles (ESV). Windsor


British Crime Survey (2007), HMG, London


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Colthrop Way, Thatcham Berkshire RG19 4NR Tel: +44 (0)1635 868855 Fax: +44 (0)1635 871346 Web: Thatcham Automotive Academy Daytona Drive, Thatcham Berkshire RG19 4ZD Tel: +44 (0)1635 294806 Fax: +44 (0)1635 868863 Web:

Thatcham Automotive Academy K4, MIRA Drive, Watling Street Nuneaton CV10 0TU Tel: +44 (0) 2476 642630 Fax: +44 (0) 2476 347605 Web:

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Thatcham Annual Review 2010  

A look at the work of Thatcham - the insurers' automotive research centre based in the UK, during 2010.