AXA has slashed 60% off the time it takes for car total loss claims to be settled, according to customer services director Andy Fairchild.

He said that the average customer service cycle time from accident date to settlement cheque was around 30 days.

But that a pilot study launched through the Ipswich claims centre in December 2003 had cut the cycle down to 10-12 days, claimed Fairchild.

Now, he said, the new method for processing the claims would be rolled out across the rest of AXA's motor claims in Birmingham and Haverhill.

The previous process involved a number of hand-offs, said AXA. "The concept was to centralise all of the processing for these claims into our motor engineering services unit at Bolton. By creating a dedicated team, we would concentrate on servicing the claims in one place," an AXA spokeswoman added.

"We have had some excellent results. Cases have been settled in four days," she said.