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During recent months, a sharp increase in severity of theft claims for motor traders and fleet owners has highlighted a market concern for clients, broker and insurers. 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:
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.
A Search Dog has been trained to detect SelectaDNA marked property and criminals.*
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 businesses and their customers. This in turn adds Credit Hire (and associated costs), as well as the detrimental reputational impact
to the client.
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.
Mitigating the Risk
Alerting your clients of the current trends and advising of appropriate risk management measures can help to reduce the risk. In particular:
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. Further information about reducing theft losses can be found in the Motor Trade Risk Management Guide, available at: www.riskdirector.co.uk
* Source: Selectamark