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POST-STRIKE REPORT

ATA of Manitoba surveys members on MPI strike impact

From August 28 through November 1, 2023, approximately 1,500 Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) employees were on strike.

When Collision Repair magazine first spoke to Ferd Klassen, owner of Niverville Autobody and Vice President of the Automotive Trades Association (ATA) of Manitoba’s executive board, a week after the strike began, he said the ATA hadn’t heard of any significant challenges— yet.

The strike continued for nine weeks. The Automotive Trades Association (ATA) of Manitoba ran a post-strike survey among its members, where it asked for their opinions on the effects of the work action, including what they thought of MPI’s adjusted processes; challenges incurred and overall commentary on the strike handlings.

When asked if ATA of Manitoba members felt they were adequately kept up-to-date with how the strike would affect their business operations during the labour dispute, 73.83 percent said yes; 26.17 percent said no. Most respondents cited ATA of Manitoba email correspondence as their main source of information (62.96 percent). Just over ten percent said MPI was their main source of information; 9.26 percent said local traditional media sources provided them info.

According to ATA of Manitoba members, the two biggest struggles caused by the MPI strike were waiting on approvals on marginals and waiting for approvals over EALs; ranked as a 4.30-level and 4.25-level problem on a scale of 1-6. Getting answers from MPI was ranked as the third-biggest struggle at a 4.09 out of 6.

Surprisingly, the challenges in waiting for payments from MPI were ranked second-lowest at a 2.33 out of 6; opening claims was the least of concern in all challenges lists, ranked at a 1.99 out of 6.

MPI implemented a slew of processes in an attempt to ease the burden on collision repair centres. When the ATA of Manitoba asked members which changes to processes they’d opt to keep, 77.78 percent said the customer ability to open claims online; 65.74 percent said increase EAL and 42.59 percent said they’d like to keep the ability to estimate and repair vandalism.

“The process of customers opening their claim online and having the bodyshop do the estimate directly was one of the biggest comments we’ve received from customers, stating ‘best thing ever,’” said one of ATA of Manitoba’s survey respondents.

“Please keep the ACV vehicle updates along with approved repair limit,” said another, adding a Mitchell Connect note as a supplementary point. “Also, the ability for a customer to open a claim online and come directly to the repair shop should have been implemented years ago.”

“When our shop was allowed to estimate hail under $6,000, we were estimating and repairing same-day.”

When asked which process changes they’d like to drop, 43.27 percent said the ability to estimate and repair partial thefts and 39.42 percent said the ability to estimate and repair hail. Of 104 respondents, 36.54 percent said they’d prefer to drop none of the new process changes.

Overall, when asked if the strike had a negative impact on their business, 60.75 percent of survey respondents said yes. Despite the hiccups, many respondents said they found operations during the strike to be “quite smooth,” compared to other times of turbulence.

“As a glass shop it was the smoothest we’ve ever run.”

“I actually liked it better with them on strike. I thought everything was quite smooth and I really, really liked the automatic approvals in supplements.”

“Overall, we believe the process was a lot faster and easier without MPI working. The only part [we felt] was missing was the adjusters, to make coverage calls.” A clear consensus across the board—the strike was handled well by the ATA of Manitoba and its executive members. “ATA is doing a fantastic job, thank you.” “Thanks for keeping us up to date.” “Great work from the ATA.”

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