TLSS at Vizion

TLSS at the Vizion conference. Total Loss Settlement Services (TLSS) Ltd will be presenting its services at the Vizion motor claims conference in Coventry in October. We welcome all to our stand to discuss services and overflow support.

New Engineers Deployed

TES has completed a further round of recruitment, induction and deployment for both engineering and support staff. With now a fully supported complement of 20 engineers covering total loss adjustment, desktop engineering and forensic audit work the team is developing in support of both greater demand of standard products and bespoke services in the motor supply chain.

TLSS set for further growth

Specialist total loss valuations and settlements firm, Total Loss Settlement Services (TLSS), is embarking on a recruitment drive to add to its in-house team of experienced engineers to support its growth plans for 2010.


The business recently appointed Ian Daley from Co-operative Insurance Services and Ian Samuels from AXA, and hopes to add at least two more engineers as well as administrative staff to the team before the end of the year.

David Patten, Director of Engineering at TLSS, comments: We set ourselves the goal at the beginning of our current financial year to grow four-fold over the next two to three years – and so far, we’re on track. We’ve increased the level of business we are doing with our existing client base, including the addition of some new services such as audit programmes to monitor accuracy of valuations and salvage categories. On top of that, we have a number of pilot programmes underway including one for NFU, all of which are going extremely well. As a result of the new business, we’re recruiting more engineers from the insurance market to complement our existing team. As part of our recent office expansion, we have created a dedicated engineering suite for up to sixteen engineers so we’re well set up for further recruitment next year.”

As part of the office expansion programme TLSS has also installed telephone recording software, ensuring greater accuracy in its customer communication activity and further enhancing the audit process available to its clients.

Patten concludes: Insurers will only outsource service elements of their business to suppliers who can replicate, if not improve upon, what they can deliver themselves in-house. We have a track record of providing that level of service but we can’t rest on our laurels and so this year has been about raising the bar further. In addition to creating an advisory board to help both test and improve our business proposition, we’re also taking steps to ensure we have the right technology in place to maintain the high standards that both current and future clients rightly expect.”

Contact David Patten on 01797 229550.

The Salvage Code Of Practice

Why do I feel it is necessary to write about the salvage Code when it should be a document which all self-respecting motor insurance claims officials should know about and be fully conversant with. The fact is that from many contacts made recently it has come as a surprise to me that some of its details are not so widely known as one might expect and certain aspects are not fully understood.

Let me start by summarising some of the facts. The Code is now nearly 15 years old. It is the ‘bible’ of the vehicle salvage industry supported by all interested parties including the Police and Government departments. Its main aim is an anti-crime measure, namely to prevent ‘ringing’ of vehicles, insurance fraud and dangerous vehicles being returned to the roads. A most important role is the categorisation of total loss vehicles into four categories and the specification of those total loss vehicles which fall outside the Code.

What is not widely known is that there is a set of guidelines which are designed to assist in the vehicle categorisation process and to ensure that assessing engineers adopt a uniform approach. These guidelines produced by the insurance industry cover such aspects as – Is the damage sufficiently severe to warrant settlement on a total loss, constructive total loss or vehicle replacement basis?; Can/should the vehicle be repaired? Does the vehicle contain any parts which are economically viable for resale? Do repair costs including VAT exceed pre accident value (PAV)? Guide notes are provided for each of these questions.

One of the most controversial questions relating to the Code, which has arisen recently, is that some insurers use descriptions for their total loss vehicles not described as a formal category in the Code. This has caused great consternation particularly by the Police. It has even been suggested that such practice is a circumvention of the Code requirements thus undermining its operation! Obviously this is an undesirable accusation but I am pleased to say that it is without foundation. It is not so and the criticisms made have, in my view, been entirely due to a lack of understanding of what is in the Code and how it should be read.

The fact is that the flow chart at the back of the Code provides an entry which specifies those cases when the Code does not apply. These are described as Insurance repair cases, stolen and recovered undamaged or minimal damage (after the claim has been settled) and vehicles which are not repaired for other commercial reasons.

The guidance notes which, in effect, form part of the Code provide that in special circumstances, an insurer may settle on a total loss basis when repair costs are less than 50% of PAV. Examples are given such as to safeguard a valuable connection, to mitigate other losses or when parts cannot easily be obtained. It is pointed out that in these cases a vehicle need not be treated as a total loss and no entry need by made on the Motor Insurance Anti Fraud and Theft Register (MIAFTR). It is in these cases that some insurers record the vehicles for their own purposes as say, Category ‘X’, purely for administration purposes because, of course, they are outside the Code. The guidance notes in fact recommend that in such cases, vehicles with serious structural damage or requiring a new body shell, should be recorded on the MIAFTR and categorised accordingly.

So to sum up, whilst a great deal has been said in recent times about the ‘malpractices’ of some insurers putting total loss vehicles into a Category ‘X’ ostensibly for their own commercial benefit purposes, this perception must be disabused because the practice is, in fact, in line with the Code, albeit that no letter is laid down for recording (categorising) such cases. Is it perhaps time formally to recognise the position in such a way for the future?


Alan Greenouff

BVSF Chairman

Salvaging the best

TLSS works with the salvage partners nominated by our insurance company clients to supply salvage services. TLSS is able to provide vehicle valuations, accurate repair costs and salvage categories from images supplied directly from salvage companies and then discuss and settle these with policyholders. The correct salvage category and salvage value is then notified to the insurer who will subsequently settle the claim.

TLSS has worked closely with Copart (as Universal Salvage/Userve Ltd) for a number of years with our independent valuation service enhancing the engineering services offered by them. This successful relationship has evolved over a number of years with excellent quality images being provided to our engineers for evaluation. The images are supplied within 24 hours of the vehicle being on site with a comprehensive engineer’s report from Copart stating both the area of damage and any other relevant points that the inspecting engineer would realise were he to physically inspect the vehicle.

The current economic climate is increasing the pressure on those businesses that need to make salvage provisions. Profitability and margins are under pressure primarily because of conditions brought on by the cyclical nature of insurance. Whilst the salvage business is not immune from the broader issues facing the insurance sector, it often finds itself much lower down the priority list than other claims areas. Falling used car values and decreasing scrap values have led to an attempt to renegotiate rates as salvage costs begin to account for a growing proportion of motor claims costs.

TLSS believes it is possible to reduce your salvage costs by taking advantage of some of the product innovations now available on the market. Our work with companies such as Copart enables us to predict salvage values that can allow a business to ‘total’ the vehicles that are worth more as salvage than they are as repairs and vice versa. In addition, customers are able to see a return that reflects the true value of their asset which then helps to reduce the chance of dispute between company and client.

If salvage vehicles are going to be auctioned, then it makes sense for the widest pool of buyers to be reached. Copart’s online auction system allows bidding by buyers from the comfort of their own office, allowing bidding right up to the point of sale. The Copart system combines live auction features which, with pre-bidding, ensures it reaches and suits as wide a customer base as possible – which, in turn, improves salvage returns.

For those buying a number of cars, shipping is now cost effective and as a result the market for salvage is now truly global. Indeed, a growing number of buyers are now located overseas and around 17% of Copart’s online auction buyers are from mainland Europe or further afield.

The salvage sector is rightly competitive and many insurers operate a tender process to decide upon salvage providers. All reputable providers will abide by the ABI code of practice for the disposal of motor salvage – a code, which has now been in place for over a decade and appears to works well. Copart supports the tender process through their dedicated Account Management structure to ensure the right solution is provided to the individual needs of the customer.

If you would like any further information on Coparts products and services please contact For more information on the service provided by TLSS and Copart, please contact

Nigel Paget, Managing Director Copart UK

The story so far

Total Loss Settlement Service (TLSS) was formed by David and Robert Patten in 2000 to address a gap in the UK insurance market for the rapid and accurate valuation and settlement of motor vehicle total losses. Having re-engineered the total loss valuation process, from valuation through to settlement, TLSS launched the Total Loss Valuation Engine service to the market, initially through claims outsourcing companies.

The company has now developed its service to support insurance companies, intermediaries and other engineering outsourcing organisations . Since our formation we have shown consistently that our service can achieve both savings and high customer satisfaction levels for those looking to manage their total loss service more efficiently.

We were the first dedicated total loss company to fully implement statistical modelling to a process that had previously lacked innovation. Our success is down to the use of both a structured process and our team of highly trained motor engineers.

As the preferred chosen supplier for the insurance industry, TLSS has developed an online claims tracking service that has greatly reduced the internal costings for insurers in monitoring the progress of a claim from initial instruction to final valuation and settlement.