Spare parts for repairs to cars are bad for the environment because of the high CO2 emissions generated by their production and disposal. AXA and its partners therefore back repair methods with less impact on natural resources: Wherever possible damage to vehicles should be repaired rather than simply swapping out whole components. This way everyone benefits – especially the environment.
There are more than 6 million vehicles driving on Switzerland’s roads, including 4.6 million passenger cars. While serious accidents are fortunately becoming increasingly infrequent, minor damage to bodywork, windshields, and headlights is on the increase. However, even minor damage is often not repaired. Instead, whole components are simply replaced with new ones, despite the availability of alternative options.
Replacing whole components is bad for the environment and for the bottom line: on the one hand, spare parts are very expensive in the automotive sector – with costs tending to rise – while on the other hand, producing and disposing of spare parts entails high CO2 emissions and consumption of resources. AXA therefore backs repair methods that have less impact on resources. Unlike conventional methods, these “micro repairs”, as they are known, involve actually repairing damaged components rather than simply swapping them out.
“As Switzerland’s biggest motor vehicle insurer, we pay out more than CHF 700 million for car repairs every year. So we play an important part in the economy, and we also want to be a responsible player when it comes to sustainability. That’s why we encourage environmentally friendly repair methods wherever technically possible. Of course, we never compromise on quality – our top priority,” says Patrick Villiger, Head of Motor Vehicle Claims at AXA Switzerland.
AXA works with selected partners who offer and facilitate high-quality repairs. In a pilot trial conducted in 2019, AXA teamed up with André Koch AG, the trade association “Carrosserie Suisse”, the training partner “Clearcarrep”, and 14 partner garages to put alternative repair methods to the test. AXA has now rolled out the successful approach to some 200 partner companies throughout Switzerland.
The results of the participating repair shops present a clear picture: Approaches such as micro repairs and opting for "repair instead of replace" have advantages for all concerned. Body shops can get more repairs done within the same period of time, thus enabling their staff to maintain their skills and increasing the profitability of the business. Where micro repairs are an option, the cost of claims is reduced by an average of CHF 700, which has a positive impact on insurance premiums and so also benefits customers. In addition, shorter repair times and downtimes allow cars to get back on the road sooner, reducing the length of time businesses and drivers are kept waiting.
“Our customers are very pleased if damage can be repaired quickly. If they have to wait for expensive spare parts, it means their car is left standing in the garage for longer and they have to drive a replacement car. However, minor damage can often be repaired completely within hours, without compromising on quality. This means companies need staff with the necessary expertise and skills for the job. For now at least, Switzerland still has this skills base and we should continue to promote those skills,” says Richard Schöller of André Koch AG.
Felix Wyss, Chairman of Carrosserie Suisse, also supports the approach: “Body shops, which employ a lot of people in Switzerland, stand to benefit more themselves if they can carry out repairs. Cases of major damage are becoming increasingly uncommon and can’t really be repaired anyway. Most claims involve minor damage. If we repair these instead of replacing parts, everyone benefits,” says Wyss.
Ultimately, the environment is the biggest winner: More emphasis on skilled workmanship and less of a throwaway mentality helps reduce pressure on resources and cut CO2 emissions.
A key aspect of this approach is initial and ongoing training within body shop businesses. In training courses and periodic regional meetings AXA also discusses experiences and possible improvement measures with its partner garages on an ongoing basis.
The badly dented rear wing panel on the right was successfully beaten back into shape.
Two headlights damaged by stone chippings successfully polished.
Perfect repair of a large crack on rear bumper.
Successful repair of a windshield chipped in the driver’s field of vision.
If your car has been damaged, AXA will take care of the whole claim settlement process, it will organize the repairs for you and it will ensure you remain mobile. In addition, your policy enables you to benefit from exclusive advantages from our partner companies. Report your claim quickly and simply at axa.ch or by calling 0800 809 809.