The acquisition of vehicle accident management specialist Universal Salvage by an American company could boost the use of recycled parts by UK insurers.

Universal Salvage – which handles the collection and disposal of collision-damaged vehicles for insurance companies and the car industry – has been acquired by vehicle salvage company Copart in a £57m deal.

The purchase could lead to greater use of recycled parts in vehicle repairs in the UK, given Copart’s active involvement with recycled parts in the US.

A spokesman for Copart said: “Copart is committed to the use of recycled parts for vehicle repairs within the UK market.

“In the US, when writing an estimate, if a used part is available, the software will include that part on the estimate. This is a service that should be made available in the UK.”

Copart is currently implementing its operational model and IT systems in the UK market.

Copart said it planned to work with insurers in the UK to open up that avenue with incentives such as its database CoPartfinder, which would make it easy to locate and procure used parts. It claimed the database was the single largest source of recycled automobile parts in the US.

There have been a number of efforts to develop an insurer-backed scheme for the use of recycled parts in motor repairs. Proponents, such as the British Vehicle Salvage Federation (BVSF), claim using recycled parts could save insurers £200m.

BVSF chairman Alan Greenouff said: “At the moment, Universal Salvage doesn’t go into recycled parts too much, but I see change with the acquisition by Copart. It will see a market here for this. If it is in a position to convince others that this is a good thing, change could take place.”

With the exception of Allianz, which recently concluded a successful pilot of inviting policyholders to use recycled parts to repair vehicles, most companies in the insurance industry have been resistant to change.

Insurers have listed a series of concerns over offering incentives, such as premium reductions to policyholders agreeing to use recycled parts, safety issues, stock availability and access to parts.

An Allianz spokesman said the company was currently briefing its network of approved repairers through a series of roadshows over the next few weeks on the benefits of recycled parts.