There are currently more than 4000 short-term insurance assessors and estimators in the country who operate without a formal occupational qualification, but that is about to change.
These assessors and estimators play a crucial role in bridging the gap between the insurer and the motor body repairer to quantify damage incurred to a vehicle that has been in an accident. Now, a drive to establish a formal Vehicle Damage Quantification (VDQ) qualification, which is endorsed by both the insurance and motor body repairer (MBR) sectors, is coming to fruition.
The South African Motor Body Repairer Association (SAMBRA) has played an integral part in assisting the merSETA with the development of the curriculum and assuring that it meets the requirements of the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO).
The merSETA is one of the 21 Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) that were established to promote skills development in terms of the Skills Development Act of 1998.
The VDQ will be an approved occupational qualification and will be registered on the country’s national qualifications framework. Several subject experts have been engaged to ensure that assessment tools meet the requirements of the QCTO. The qualification combines a blend of technical and non-tech components.
The outcome of the VDQ curriculum will be twofold – it will provide insight into what it will take to repair the vehicle’s damage, and how much it will cost to repair the damage.
SAMBRA is currently awaiting final approval by the QCTO.
Uvashen Bramiah, National Director of SAMBRA, encouraged estimators and assessors to acquire the qualification. “It is based on the Recognition of Prior Learning Assessment mechanism. It also has the potential to generate much-needed employment for young individuals wishing to pursue a career in either the motor body repair sector or the vehicle insurance sector. Young South Africans should strive for a qualification backed up by experience to differentiate themselves in the job market,” said Bramiah.
SAMBRA, with the full support of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), is also ready to introduce a pilot project with 15 candidates for the Recognitions of Prior Learning Assessment process.
“Typically, experienced estimators with the skills set to assess and quantify damage, will be eligible for this assessment process,” explained Bramiah. He noted that SAMBRA is also involved in exploratory work to identify training institutions that can deliver the qualifications to the standards set by the QCTO and merSETA.
Bramiah concluded by saying: “This is a great opportunity to develop these estimators to become mentors for future candidates.”