IBIS Ireland – Interview with Darren Power, steering group member

Darren Power, Motor Engineer Liberty Insurance and Council Member IAEA, is one of our Steering Group members for IBIS Ireland 2019. Here we talk to Darren about his background and role in the steering group.

Please describe your background and current role in regard to the industry

I’ve worked with vehicles since I was a teenager, working for independent repairers and multiple franchise main dealers, (mostly on the body repair side of things).

I had good working relationships with Motor Assessors over the years and decided that I would like to make the transition to a career in Motor Assessing. In 2009, after attending Dublin Institute of Technology for two years part-time I became a member of the Institute of Automotive Engineer Assessors (IAEA) with.

I started working for Liberty Insurance (Quinn Insurance at the time) in January 2010 as a Repair Auditor as time went on the role changed and now I carry out a number of functions surrounding material damage within the business.

Also in 2010, I started to become more involved in the IAEA Irish Region. I have served on the Committee since 2010 and have held the position of Regional Chairman and Regional Treasurer. I have been an IAEA Council member since May 2015.

Why did you volunteer to be a steering group member?

No matter what part of the industry you work in, we’re all busy throughout the year focussed on trying to get vehicles repaired and returned to their owners. Events like IBIS are a great opportunity for stakeholders to get together to really think about and discuss the issues that are affecting our industry today. More than that, it gives us a little pause for thought to see what’s coming down the track, what are the future issues our industry might face?

The high-quality speakers offer us insight into the issues and potential solutions, from both a national and often international perspective. I personally think events like this are a great opportunity to get the perspective of different stakeholders, to better understand the challenges we all face both now and going into the future.

I volunteered because I truly believe that events like IBIS benefit the industry as a whole, so I’m happy to support the event in any way that I can.

What are the greatest changes in the industry’s future and are we prepared to face them?

Those of us working in different parts of the industry each face areas of change and potential disruption in the future; insurers, motor engineers, body repairers nor mechanical repairers are exempt.

Though some challenges are unique to their respective professions, there are some that are over-arching. For example;

  • Brexit poses challenges for supply chain of both vehicles and vehicle components, specifically new parts that are either manufactured in the UK or sold through large distribution centres. If there is a hard Brexit, this could potentially disrupt supply chains caused longer lead time for parts, increasing repair and key to key times. Furthermore, the costs of parts distributed from or through the UK could increase in price, leading to higher repairs costs.

Apart from some suppliers trying to mitigate some of the immediate risk by increasing stock, it seems we will have to wait a little while and see how this plays out.

  • Motor vehicles continue to be more and more complex with each production year that goes by. Increasing complexity in construction, materials, electronics and safety systems is a problem for all stakeholders. Changes in electronics and safety systems are a particular area for concern.

While Moore’s law originally concerned itself with the number of transistors on integrated circuit boards, its widely accepted that advancements in many areas of technology are strongly linked to Moore’s Law. In short, applying it to car technology means we will continue to see an exponential growth in both the amount and complexity of technology in cars into the future. We are already seeing this with advancements in ADAS and advanced User Interface(UX) systems.

While the advancement in technology is not news to us (it has after all been spoken about at previous IBIS events), I don’t think that the industry stakeholders appreciate the rapidity of change that is approaching, nor do I think that we are doing enough to prepare for the change. There needs to be continuous upskilling to keep with the technology and more collaboration between the industry stakeholders.