6 April 2004

Drivers of used Fords will be praying for reliability after the company’s warranty, servicing and breakdown insurance-provider, Warranty Holdings, crashed into administration.

Both Ford and administrator Grant Thornton have assured Autocar that current policy-holders should be largely unaffected. The company’s cover is underwritten by third parties AXA Insurance and National Insurance and Guarantee Ltd, which will continue to meet all ‘valid’ claims. A certain amount of disruption is expected to affect customers who are applying for cover, or anyone in the process of claiming against their policy, though.

‘There’s likely to be an initial disruption to anything in the pipeline, as well as a few hiccups as we transfer to a new provider,’ said a Ford spokesman. ‘But no one should be left without cover.’

Cover provider Oriel Investment, which trades under the name Warranty Holdings, was put into administration following ‘serious business irregularities’ that emerged following an internal audit, and after the recent departure of two of its top-level executives.

Managing director David Shapiro left the company last November after the business anomalies were originally unearthed. Chief executive Peter Head resigned earlier this month, shortly before Grant Thornton were appointed by Ford to act as administrators.

Warranty Holdings was earmarked for sale by Ford late last year. When that sale was interrupted by the initial business audit, the manufacturer ordered a more thorough examination and adopted a zero-tolerance attitude.

Warranty Holdings also insured other manufacturers’ cars. Customers seeking clarification on their policies can telephone WH directly on 0870 532 9696.

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