The insurance group rating system for Light Commercial Vehicles is to be restructured for 2016, with an increase to 30 groups enabling improved differentiation between similar vehicles and therefore a more accurate reflection of risk.
Thatcham Research, who administer the insurance group rating process on behalf of the Association of British Insurers (ABI), will introduce the change from 1st January 2016, when the existing 20 group system will increase to 30 groups in order to increase the sensitivity of the rating scale, and to more clearly define differentials in vehicle size and performance.
All Light Commercial Vehicles which are grouped up until the end of December 2015 will fall under the existing 20 group system and will retain their current grouping. Those grouped from January onwards will be allocated with a group between 21 and 50 which is intended to clearly differentiate the system under which the vehicle was grouped.
The move to 30 groups reflects a similar change which took place on cars in 2009 when they were converted from a 20 to a 50 group system. As with cars, the expanded grouping system on LCVs means that each model can be more accurately banded with vehicles of similar characteristics, making it possible to reflect additional factors including the presence and performance of standard fit Driver Assistance Systems such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).
The new LCV 30 group system also brings with it the introduction of some new factors into the rating process including vehicle performance, vehicle dimensions, a new geometric bumper assessment, a change to parts pricing and repair cost calculations and a simplification of the existing security assessment.
Senior Group Rating Manager at Thatcham Research, Howard Barron, said “With the changes that are to be introduced in January 2016, the new Group Rating structure will deliver a totally fit for purpose risk based assessment of new LCV’s. The new system takes into account all pertinent factors and also now seeks to encourage and reward manufacturers for the standard fitment of innovative crash avoidance systems. This new technology is already proving to be effective in reducing accidents for cars where standard fitment is increasing across a wider range of manufacturers, whereas worryingly only two LCV models on the market are currently fitted with this important new technology, none yet as standard.”
This will be the first major change to LCV rating in over a decade, driven by insurers wanting a system that will deliver more accurate pricing and benefiting those drivers and fleets who choose safer, lower risk vehicles.
The Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre, or 'Thatcham Research' as it is widely known, was formed in 1969 by British insurers. Its main aim is to carry out research and testing to contain or reduce the cost of motor insurance claims, whilst maintaining safety standards.
Thatcham reviews every volume new car model entering the UK, risk rating it for the ABI’s Group Rating Panel and conducting an in-depth review of the new model’s repair information. 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. The organisation has an established reputation as an automotive standard setter and a proven capability in delivering unique, high quality, ready to use and bespoke products and services to the automotive industry, on a global stage.