On a particularly warm Whangarei morning, collision technician Carl Henty sets to work on a 2015 Ford ranger that suffered some costly damage. It turns out the client’s 830kg Angus bull didn’t appreciate the ute blocking his view from the cows.

Thankfully, because Louie Berkers Collision Repair is part of FMG’s pre-approved repairer family, Carl can get on with the job without the need for an insurance assessor.

Starting as an apprentice collision technician in 1997, Carl progressively worked through the ranks and took the opportunity to buy the business in 2007. Growing up on the family beef farm near Hukerenui, from an early age Carl was always tinkering with motors, bikes and farm equipment.

“At the end of Year 12, I was offered this apprenticeship and never looked back.”

Louie Berkers Collision Repair is one of 65 pre-approved repairers that have partnered with FMG across the country. This means they have a dedicated relationship manager and can go ahead with certain repairs as soon as the claim is lodged. This reduces wait time and also helps ensure repairers have the backing to do a quality job, while supporting local, family run businesses to keep their doors open across provincial New Zealand.

Over the past year, around two dozen local paint and panel shops have closed their doors, according to the Collision Repair Association.

“This industry has seen a large shift to vertical integration (where insurance companies own part or all of a paint and panel chain and consolidation, and big body shops buy up smaller ones). We are now looking at the new norm where repairers are expected to sacrifice quality for quantity. Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten, that’s what makes FMG different,” says Carl.

“As an FMG client myself, it makes sense to see their relationship model extend to their repairer and supplier network too. They are always looking for ways to improve their communication and claims’ process—which has real advantages for their clients too.  We must pass quite a meticulous audit to become an FMG approved repairer.

“Provincial New Zealand is full of small, local and family run businesses who often give back to their local communities too. We’re a proud Platinum sponsor of Northern Rugby club at Hukerenui, Pines and Northland Golf Club, and Kaurihohore school.

“Sustainable business is becoming increasingly important and where possible we look to improve our environmental impact. We have a water-based basecoat paint product, a dedicated wash bay facility and recycle bins for steel, plastic and cardboard.”