Overall damage ratios for finished vehicle delivery in Europe have fallen by as much as 50% in recent years, with huge cost saving implications. At the same time, more incidents of extreme weather have led to higher catastrophic loss cases.
Matt Holmes (pictured), director of damage claims and survey specialist, Sevatas, said that the overall damage ratio for vehicle logistics is now no more than 1-2%, from 3-4% in 2007. He told delegates at the Automotive Logistics Europe conference that the improvement was down to better handling processes, more targeted vehicle protection and better analysis of the root causes of damage when delivering vehicles. 
Assuming an average cost of repair of around €300 ($415) per damage incident, this decrease would translate to an industry savings of around €100m across the European sector.
On the other hand, Holmes said that he was seeing more cases of extreme weather leading to major cases of damage. Just this past quarter, for example, he pointed to major flooding incidents at a UK port that led to the loss of 70 vehicles, as well as storms and flooding in Germany, Oman and Sweden.
“You can have the most perfect vehicle handling processes in the world, but there is very little that can be done to prevent this kind of major damage,” he said. “The UK has just had the wettest winter on record for 350 years, for example, and we’ve seen numerous incident of catastrophic loss.”
Holmes recommended that the best solution would be for carmakers, logistics providers and terminal handlers to work together more on having specific catastrophic loss insurance plans.