Class Dismissed: Shops issue insurer report cards

Toronto, Ontario — Collision repair facilities and auto insurers have a delicate—sometimes fractious—relationship.  Unfortunately for the brave men and women of Canada’s repair sector, the balance of power is rarely on the repairer side of the equation.

Last year, Collision Repair turned the tables on auto insurers. It issued a survey to Canadian auto repair companies.

In the survey, the magazine asked readers to issue grades to the big players in the auto insurance sector. The areas up for review related to the timeliness of insurer payments, the dispute management practices used by the insurers, and the businesses’ overall approach to bodyshop relations.

Grades were given out to private insurers (Intact, TD Insurance, Aviva, Statefarm, Wanwessa, Dejardins, Co-operators) and public ones as well (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, Saskatchewan Government Insurance and Manitoba Public Insurance).

This year, the magazine reissued the survey.

This year’s ‘class average’ of C+ across all fields, slightly down from 2018’s B+. While this could be the result of the participants feeling less generous than last year, there is a more likely explanation. As the top-scoring insurer actually saw its grades rise, it seems that relations between auto repair facilities and businesses have not improved.

And who was the top-scoring business? Yet again, the Co-operators came out on top—with an A, up from an A- last year. In fact, this year, the Co-operators was the highest rated auto insurer in every category.

SGI also deserves special mention. Its dispute management practices—rated 70 percent last year—were rated a 75 percent this year, up six places and into second in the category.

One respondent explained that SGI was actively working to improve its disputes management process.

“Lately SGI has been pretty good. They are at least listening to the industry’s concerns and trying their best to address them well, at the same time they are trying to keep cost in line.”

Another wrote that its billing process had been well received by businesses.

“As long as the shop has the paperwork done properly,  SGI pays via E-transfer every Monday. Sometimes a larger claims things get held up in the system, but, for the most part, it is pretty good.”

While Aviva, TD Insurance and Wanwessa each dropped three places in the category, Intact was widely criticized for letting its disputes with shops turn nasty.

“Intact has become the bullies of the insurance industry,” wrote one respondent. “They have image desk reviewers that are there to cut and chop with no justification. It is beyond comprehension.”

“Intact bullies the client to move the vehicle to a non-certified facility,” wrote another.

“As part of a 20 group, we hear Intact is an issue across Canada. Who can afford a 6 percent rebate to Intact to be on their Rely Program?” wrote yet another.

Yet again, public insurers MPI and ICBC brought up the rear, each scoring last or second last in every field. The pair scored  C- for their efforts—down from C+ in 2018.

MPI received particularly sharp reviews, with one repairer writing, “MPI is not concerned with settling disputes. They only are concerned with winning, and making sure the body shop loses.”

“Intact hasn’t increase labour rates in Edmonton since 2007,” complained a second repairer.

Another put it more simply.

“All levels of MPI are belligerent towards shop owners.”

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