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During recent months, there has been a sharp increase in the severity of motor theft claims. The increase has been primarily driven by claims involving multiple vehicles, parts and a resurgence of catalytic converter thefts.
Catalytic Converters Theft
Most modern cars are fitted with catalytic converters, a pollution-control device fitted to the vehicle’s exhaust system to reduce harmful emissions from the engine. By using catalyst metals – typically platinum, palladium and rhodium – gas emissions passed through the converter are transformed into less toxic substances such as oxygen and water. Although only very small amounts of these metals are used, they are valuable commodities fetching up to $1000 USD per ounce. This means converters are an attractive target for thieves.
Although not all instances have followed the same pattern, the marked increase since the latter half of 2015 has a number of common trends:
The number of instances of multiple vehicle thefts has also been on the rise. These thefts appear to be conducted by organised gangs, able to arrange for more than one vehicle to be stolen and moved on at a time. Again, there have been a number of commonalities:
In addition, there has been an upsurge in the number of parts thefts. As above, these appear to have been carried out by thieves able to move large quantities of items.
Common trends include:
It’s apparent that vehicle dealerships are particularly at risk of parts, vehicle and catalytic converter theft. This is especially so for risk locations with minimal physical security and protection deterrents.
Although vehicle sales make up the majority of risks affected, repair garages and body shops that keep customer vehicles on site have also been targeted. Specifically, for catalytic converters, the cost of each stolen item costs an average of £1,900, not to mention the inconvenience caused to your business and customers. This in turn adds Credit Hire (and associated costs), as well as the detrimental impact on your reputation.
Mitigating the Risk
Being aware of the current trends and appropriate risk management measures can help to reduce the risk. In particular:
in this area.
From April 2016, Allianz has signed up to a new risk management partner, Selectamark. Negotiating a 15% discount for Allianz policyholders. Selectamark specialises in property marking, asset Identification and registering of such property.
This not only provides a visible deterrent to potential thieves, but also allows tracking of property through physical or DNA tags. It also assists in the recovery of stolen property via their property register.
Further information can be found at their website.
Allianz are currently liaising with industry groups such as Thatcham, RMI and the police to adopt a joint approach to tackle the issue, so keep an eye out for updates in the coming months. For more information about reducing theft losses, please speak to your insurance intermediary or see out Motor Trade Risk Management Guide, available at: www.riskdirector.co.uk