Highway Motor Policies (HMP) has established a platform for its approved repairers to sound off about problems they have with insurers – in what is believed to be an industry first.

The insurer has set up a club for repairers to address what one executive described as a "ludicrous" state of communication between the two industries.

An inaugural meeting of 25 repairers held last week dealt with customer complaints, insuring courtesy cars and how to ensure that policyholders pay excesses before work begins on their vehicles.

"For too long, the industry has not given repairers an opportunity to communicate their concerns to insurers," said Quin Lovis, HMP active underwriter.

HMP claims manager John Mahoney, who is to chair the club, said that it was "ludicrous for repairers not to have a proper dialogue and relationship" with insurers.

It is estimated that the number of club members will eventually reach 80.

Derek Walton, of D Walton, one of the club members, said: "This is an excellent initiative from Highway."

And John Garrett, of Garretts Bodyworks, added: "A lot of ideas were discussed and I am sure some of them will help me fine tune my business."