Credit hire specialist Helphire Group has picked up the ongoing business from competitor Centrus, following its closure by owners Avis Europe Ltd.

The business is estimated to amount to 300 cases per month, together with the insurance policies written by Centrus's legal expense product Safeguard.

The deal will further consolidate Helphire's position as market leader in the credit hire market.

In return for the business Helphire has agreed to source its excess vehicle requirements from Avis.

Helphire executive chairman Michael Symons said: "We are delighted to be recommencing a working relationship with Avis. Centrus clients can be assured that service levels will be maintained as a result of this arrangement."

Meanwhile, the Office of Fair Trading gave provisional approval to the ABI's general terms of agreement (GTA) for fixing costs for replacement cars charged to insurers from credit hire firms.

By granting the GTA an exemption from price fixing legislation, the OFT has effectively closed the door to legal challenges flowing from the agreement.

A statement from the OFT read: "The OFT takes the view that although the agreement has the effect of fixing prices, the benefits outweigh the anti-competitive effects.

"But the OFT believes that some amendments to the agreement are needed to qualify for an exemption."

Proposed changes include replacing the current ABI sub-committee with an independent assessor and incorporating the current fixed administration fee into the credit hire rates.

The OFT will consult the industry on the issue.

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