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Key Role for Thatcham as Chinese Motor Insurance Gears Up for Structural Change

Press Release   •   Nov 02, 2015 12:08 GMT

Thatcham Research has confirmed a partnership with CATARC, the China Automotive Technology And Research Centre, to enable the introduction of a vehicle insurance rating scheme into China.

Funded by UK insurers, one of Thatcham’s key responsibilities is in administering the insurance Group Rating system on behalf of the ABI (Association of British Insurers). The newly signed agreement with CATARC will call upon Thatcham’s extensive experience in this area with the ultimate aim of developing and introducing a similar system in the Chinese market.

With over 120 million passenger cars on the road, the task of providing an effective insurance system in China is an enormous challenge. The motor insurance market is currently undergoing structural change, moving away from the market level pricing tariffs which are common in Asia, towards individual risk assessment by insurers. This provides an opportunity for CATARC, working with Thatcham, to help provide a workable solution.

CATARC are well established in China, employing over 3,000 people across seven different locations and boasting world leading vehicle research facilities including a new 300,000 square metre Technology and Research Centre in Tianjin, alongside more than 60km of test track.

As part of the wide ranging new agreement, Thatcham will also provide consultancy services including vehicle inspection, assessment and training expertise, as well as ongoing support in developing an appropriate risk rating formula that could effectively operate in the region.

Neale Phillips, Strategy & Development Director at Thatcham Research said, “If you want to manage vehicle risk, you first need a clear understanding of the different factors that can have an influence. The sheer number of trim variations even on the same basic vehicle can be enormous and all need to be factored in.”

Materials used in construction, the cost of replacement parts, crash performance, security levels and the fitment or otherwise of life saving driver assistance technology can all vary widely, often dependent on the territory into which the vehicle is sold.

“Understanding and administering vehicle rating is a complex business, but has some very clear advantages if you can get it right. We’re seeing increasing interest in the way the UK runs its Group Rating system and the new agreement with CATARC is further evidence of how Thatcham expertise in this area is in high demand overseas,” added Phillips.

The Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre, or 'Thatcham Research' as it is widely known, was formed in 1969 by British insurers. The centre is the independent voice of automotive safety & repair, advising motorists, insurers and vehicle manufacturers to help reduce accident frequency, severity and costs.

As well as its world leading crash and track research, Thatcham tests and accredits crash repair parts, vehicle repair technicians, and a number of other products and services within the collision repair industry for insurers, motor manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

A founder member of the international Research Council for Automobile Repairs (RCAR), Thatcham has also been a member of the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) since 2004.