Firm looks to save £5m in annual credit hire fees

AA/Saga will create 100 jobs for its in-house credit hire firm.

Steve Ashton, former Saga chief operating officer, will head up the new Folkestone-based firm, ClaimFast. It will supply replacement vehicles to not-at-fault parties in accidents.

AA/Saga’s management teams believe the business will slash its estimated £5m annual credit hire costs.

However, a spokesman said the firm had primarily been set up to improve service for its customers, “both in terms of price and service”.

As reported in Insurance Times on 16 July, AA/Saga has applied to the ABI’s technical committee to approve the move. Barry Bromley, secretary of the National Association of Credit Hire Operators (NACHO), said the company had been given provisional first-tier approval to go ahead.

He said that AA/Saga would not be able to take third parties off credit hire operators, as set out in the ABI’s General Terms of Agreement (GTA). If ClaimFast abided by the GTA, it would be granted full approval next year.

No date has yet been set for the launch of the new company, which will serve about 3.5 million AA and Saga customers.

It will also act for Direct Choice which, with AA and Saga, is part of the Acromas group.

ClaimFast has been set up just as Tony Copeland, chairman of NACHO, announced the upcoming appointment of an independent chairman to resolve disputes between CHOs and insurers over interpretation of the GTA.

The industry-led initiative is seen as a compromise to a number of insurers who want government-imposed regulations.