Insurer Axa is axing 100 approved repairers as a result of company-wide restructuring.

The move, which was caused by Axa's merger with Guardian Royal Exchange in October last year, follows on from Zurich Financial Services' decision last week to chop its list by a third.

“This is a consolidation of two companies,” explained an Axa spokesman David Ross, “rather than an attempt to cut back on the number of approved repairers.”

At present, Axa has around 600 mainstream approved repairers, although this is expected to drop to below 500 when the situation is reviewed in the next six months.

“We are trying to be as transparent as possible,” Ross explained, “but it is wrong to speculate. As soon as we have something to communicate we will.”

Zurich's decision to drop 140 body shops one year into a three-year deal has already caused outrage in the repair industry.

“The industry is tight enough without insurers doing this sort of thing,” fumed Bob Hood, director of the Retail Motor Industry Federation. “This is an industry-wide issue,” he explained, “I want the industry to show some solidarity, because they should understand it could be them next week.”