Total motor losses are rising significantly and placing even more pressure on hard-pressed bodyshop repairers, said managing director of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Jim Burrell.

A report from Market Facts and Business Information predicts there would be a 13% shortfall in bodyshop repair capacity this year, climbing to 28% by 2006.

In many cases, claimants suffering a total motor loss rely on the bodyshop industry to provide a replacement vehicle, as in other cases insurers fail to do so.

Burrell said UK insurers could not be complacent when it comes to customer service, as regulatory barriers to entering the insurance market are much lower than in comparative insurance markets such as the US.

He said UK insurers should also consider the issue of customer service in providing replacement vehicles, since this was one of the chief causes of complaint from accident victims. "Claimants who have a positive experience following a total loss are more likely to remain with their insurer," he said.