Hail-Caused Havoc: MPI opens temporary hail-related damage claims centre; ATA and repairers cite multiple factors creating delays in repairs

Winnipeg, Manitoba — Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) recently announced the opening of a temporary hail-related damage claims centre following a storm in the Winnipeg area last week.

Specifically, on Wednesday, the Crown corporation announced the opening of the centre at 1981 Plessis Rd. which will offer hail-related damage claims Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The centre will offer 70 appointments a day in order to help with the approximately 1,500 claims that were reported to MPI as a result of the recent storm.

MPI is also reportedly still dealing with another 15,000 claims that were first opened in 2023 as a result of a severe summer storm that took place in August and saw golf ball-sized hail hitting some areas of the province.

Through the temporary centre, MPI will begin contacting claimants who don’t yet have an estimate appointment scheduled. The Crown corporation will also be prioritizing drivers who have been waiting the longest for repairs. Customers will specifically be contacted by either text message or email.

In response to this event, Collision Repair magazine reached out to Denis Cloutier, Executive Director, Automotive Trades Association of Manitoba (ATA) who noted that this recent storm, while smaller than the one in 2023, is still contributing to a current backlog in repairs.

“Shops already had a backlog on collision repairs and so they don’t have as much time now for hail repairs. I know shops that are currently booking eight to 12 weeks for collision repairs and this leaves them room to only do a couple of hail repairs a week.”

Cloutier further noted that shops are trying to prioritize non-driveable repairs as much as possible, and so those with drivable vehicles are part of the wait time.

When asked about the reason for the current backlog, Cloutier commented that “this is the cause of residual effects from Covid as well as the ongoing talent and labour shortage.”

“From surveying shops in the area, we’re finding that the average shop in Manitoba could hire two people tomorrow, there’s just not enough people to quickly move through the backlog of repairs.”

This information was reiterated by Ferd Klassen, President and General Manager at Niverville Autobody Ltd, who commented that there are “many hail damaged vehicles that haven’t even been processed yet.”

Alongside delays related to Covid and previous hail storms, Klassen also mentioned that last year’s strike at MPI is also contributing to the delays.

For Klassen, “as a collision repair shop, we’re seeing multiple calls every single day related to hail repair. We want to help out our customers as much as possible, but due to all the contributing factors, the reality is that there’s going to be delays. I know shops that are refusing to do pothole and theft and related services because collision repair is so behind.”

Klassen further noted that while many customers have expressed excitement about the temporary centre, he has had to remind them that there will still be wait times.

“Thankfully, most customers are patient and we’re doing everything we can to help out customers as much as possible. The last thing anyone wants is for a hail-damaged vehicle to get into an accident and then be totaled.”

For more information about hail-related appointments through MPI, drivers can contact hailestimates@mpi.mb.ca to reschedule an appointment or make an inquiry.



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