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Light Hits: December 2018

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Ford Recalls 874K Trucks for Fire Risk

​In late December, Ford recalled 874,000 pickup trucks in North America (410,000 of those in the U.S.) with engine block heaters for fire risks.

The second largest U.S. automaker said the recall covers some 2015–19 Ford F-150 trucks, along with the 2017–19 Ford F-250 Super Duty, F-350 Super Duty, F-450 Super Duty, and F-550 Super Duty pick-up trucks.

Ford said water and contaminants may get into the block heater cable’s splice connector, causing corrosion and damage and potentially a fire. Ford told U.S. regulators it is aware of reports of three fires in Canada linked to the issue, but unaware of any reports of accidents or injuries.

Report: Nearly 17M Faulty Takata Air Bags Still in Use

Despite years of recalls involving faulty Takata air bag inflators, one third of the recalled inflators had yet to be replaced as of late December.

According to an annual report on recalls released by the government, recall repair rates across 19 automakers involved in the recalls increased 30 percent over the course of the past 12 months (as verified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). But the report indicated that 16.7 million faulty inflators out of the 50 million under recall have yet to be replaced, according to the Associated Press.

The Takata air bag devices use the chemical ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion

that inflates the air bags. But inflators have been found to explode with too much force, firing shrapnel at drivers and passengers. At least 23 people have been killed worldwide due to the problem.

The inflators grow more dangerous as they age, due to the fact that ammonium nitrate deteriorates in high humidity and cycles from hot temperatures to cold.

"More exposure over more time to high heat and humidity further degrades the Takata inflator's phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate compound, making it more porous, more volatile and more prone to transform from a life-saving device to a life-threatening," the report says.​

CIECA Forms Standards Development Committee

CIECA has announced the formation of a new Standards Development Committee with the Property Insurance & Restoration Conference (PIRC), a forum for discussions between property insurance and restoration stakeholders.  

The PIRC-CIECA Data Standards & Accessibility Committee was formed to address issues within the property restoration and related industries as it applies to data exchange and accessibility.

A main focus for PIRC is the cycle time and efficiencies for returning properties to a pre-loss state after damage. The first objective of the committee is to develop a single focus of its scope, objectives and goals. All business needs will be identified to enable the electronic messages to move readily between parties.

The PIRC-CIECA Data Standards & Accessibility Committee meets weekly on Thursdays at 2 p.m. Eastern Time via conference call. CIECA members and any other interested parties are invited to join.

Study Shows Most Accident-Prone Cities

QuoteWizard, an online insurance comparison marketplace, recently released a study on the 25 most car accident-prone cities in the U.S.

The city with the highest rate of car crashes was Columbus, Ohio, followed by St. Louis, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Calif.,  and New Orleans.

QuoteWizard sampled incident data (with more than one million data points) from drivers who used its services. To quantify overall driver standards for comparison, QuoteWizard then weighted the accident counts for each city with frequency to determine accident rates.

Romans: Telematics, ADAS Challenging Body Shops

A 2017 Profile of the Evolving U.S. and Canadian Collision Repair Marketplace, the 13th annual white paper by the Romans Group LLC, recently revealed how the four industry pillars have helped strengthen and grow the collision repair industry.

The top five repairers in the U.S., during the report's timeline, were Caliber, Service King, ABRA Corporate & Franchise, the Boyd Group, and CARSTAR (Caliber and ABRA have since merged). Meanwhile, the collision repair industry has seen growth in Canada.

The top four consolidators have experienced robust growth due to continued incremental organic growth, multiple-location platform acquisitions, an increasing number of single-location acquisitions, and a Brownfield and Greenfield build strategy.

Five secular trends are causing more immediate challenges and opportunities for repairers and many other relevant constituent groups including auto insurance companies: telematics, 5G and the connected car; ADAS and the evolving autonomous vehicles; OE certification programs, and the technician shortage.

Report: Nonstandard Auto Insurance Segment Appears on Rise

There are initial signs that the private passenger nonstandard automobile segment is beginning to improve after years of unfavorable results, including continued premium growth in 2017 and through mid-year 2018, The Insurance Journal recently reported.

​The findings come from Best's Market Segment Report, "Early Signs of Improvement in Nonstandard Auto Market," and the report states that the recent improvements reflect a variety of carriers’ underwriting initiatives, including increasing rates significantly over the last few years.

As the auto premium base expanded in 2018, loss cost trends and severity increases were mostly in line with companies’ expectations.

Some large national private passenger auto insurers expanded their presence in the

nonstandard auto insurance market through more efficient technology platforms. The resulting competitive pressure on smaller writers has resulted in some being acquired by national writers.

 

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