Toronto, Ontario — Traditionally, collision repairers and auto insurances have a delicate—even quarrelsome relationship. Add a global pandemic into the mix and things become a little more muddled.
For the past two years, Collision Repair has asked the Canadian collision repair community to issue grades for the nation’s big players in auto insurance. The areas up for review: timeliness of payments, dispute management practices and general bodyshop relations.
Grades have been assigned to private insurers Intact Financial, TD Insurance, Aviva Canada, State Farm Mutual, Wawanesa Mutual Insurance and Desjardins, as well as public insurers Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI), the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI).
This year’s class average of C across the board shows a slight decline from 2019 and 2018, where averages of C+ and B+ were reported respectively.
For the third year in a row, the Co-Operators have come out on top with an overall letter grade of B+, but down from the A- and A scores of 2019 and 2018. Once again, the Co-Operators came out on top in every category.
It appears Impact Financial caused headaches for many repairers this year. The private insurer saw its score fall an entire letter grade from last year’s B to this year’s C grade and received scathing reviews from survey respondents.
“Intact is absolutely terrible to deal with,” wrote a respondent. “They do not attempt to manage disputes. If you don’t go their way, they will try to run you over. The truth is, they are no longer worth the time and energy.”
“Intact are the industry bullies,” said another. “Poor professionalism, engaged in defamations, and misrepresentations, legal threats all the time. Incredible that they are untouchable.”
“Intact are the biggest bullies in the game. Their labour and material rates haven’t been increased in close to seven years—we have even fought with them to get supplements okayed.”
On the public insurance side, though both the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) saw their grades rise in 2019, 2020 has dashed those dreams away.
This year, ICBC and MPI both scored an F.
“Public insurers seem to have a problem recognizing that they cannot exercise the same tactics they use in their controlled markets while doing business in a private environment,” said a respondent.
“ICBC has bullied almost every insurance company out of our province,” wrote another, likely referring to November’s insurer exodus, which saw Impact and Belairdirect withdraw from the province following an NDP win in the provincial election.
SGI, on the other hand, stands out from the other public insurers, even with its C- grade. While still an entire letter grade down from 2019’s results, SGI blew its public insurer counterparts out of the water in every category.
Another particularly shocking detail to note—not a single auto insurer on Collision Repair’s list saw its score increase from last year’s results. According to repairers, insurers have been dropping the ball in 2020.
“The mushroom treatment is the insurance industry’s specialty this year,” wrote one survey respondent.
While much of the world remains gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s collision repairers suggest the insurance industry could be treating the aftermarket unfairly, considering the scale of the COVID crisis.
“Some insurers have shown their true colours this year. We’ve seen some asking for increased discounts and implementing flawed rental car programs….in the middle of a pandemic.”