26 March 2020

Companies across the world are experiencing problems in sourcing parts during the coronavirus pandemic. This is a result of the closing of factories and restrictions on the travel of workers by the Chinese government in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Most manufacturers in the Far East are affected. Before announcing the 21-day lockdown, the South African government had taken similar precautionary measures by closing ports of entry into the country, with these steps affecting land, sea and air transportation. As stocks of parts run down, our country’s consumers need to anticipate possible short-term delays for repairs to items that are a vital part of their everyday lives, such as their mobile phones and vehicles. Unfortunately this situation may also inevitably cause delays in the finalisation of claims.

“We understand how problematic this may be for our clients, in fact everyone using cellphones and vehicles which need repairing – we use these things constantly ourselves,” says Bennie Boshoff, GM: Short-term Division at Safire. “Be assured that we will do our very best to make sure that our clients are impacted as little as possible by this situation. It’s a global problem that we cannot avoid. However, as the rate of new infections in China is currently on the decline, we anticipate that the factories and manufacturing plants will soon be up and running again and the backlog will quickly be dealt with. The largest operations are already saying that they expect to be back to normal production levels by the end of March. We hope it will be business-as-usual once the lockdown comes to an end.”

The 21-day shutdown of all but emergency services will also impact on auto-body repairers and panel-beaters, as well as motor accident assessors. This will result in the following:

  • No accident-damaged vehicles can be accepted, current repair processes will come to a halt and vehicles that are stored at autobody repairer premises will remain there for the duration of the lockdown period. Please be assured that vehicles stored at our approved autobody repairers will be safe and that repairs will resume as soon as this becomes possible.
  • As motor assessors will not operate externally over the lockdown period, it is likely that we will be unable to process vehicle claims where damage is extensive and possibly unseen. However, this does not rule out the idea of a ‘virtual assessment’ and / or digital assessments as we’ve done in the past. Please speak to your broker for further information if this situation should affect you. 

We will be keeping our staff, brokers, service providers and clients advised of any further impacts on our business by the pandemic, but need to emphasise that delays, both in repairs and the processing and finalisation of claims, will be unavoidable during this period.