Strike Update: MPI grapples with record hail claims amid strike; ‘solutions and challenges are ongoing’ for collision centres

Winnipeg, Manitoba ⁠— Monday marked one week since more than 1,700 unionized employees of Manitoba’s crown insurer announced a strike⁠—and there’s no end in sight as far as the collision industry goes, said Ferd Klassen, vice president of the Automotive Trades Association of Manitoba and owner of Niverville Autobody.

“Solutions and challenges are ongoing, and seem to be working for the most part,” Klassen told Collision Repair on Tuesday.

“When the strike started, I was concerned how this would affect customers and employees,” said Dan Bernier, co-owner of Eastside Moray Collision and Glass. “From my perspective the impact [on collision centres] has been minimal so far.”

Bernier and the team are happy to report they have not missed a beat on completing orders for their customers, and staff continue to meet their hours.

“To make this all work, we have been implementing new processes to stay in tune with the changes that MPI has made during the strike. This has added some stress to our admin staff, but at the same time, MPI has been quick to update the rules to make things easier,” Bernier added.

“I really appreciate the effort that MPI and the bodyshops have made to work together on making sure our fellow Manitoban drivers are taken care of during this stressful time.”

One change since our last update is the fact that MPI has resumed hail estimates, the insurer announced via a release last week.

“MPI is now proceeding with hail claims at two levels,” Klassen clarified. “Shop written estimates, and now [MPI] has partnered with a PDR equipment company. They’ve brought in a hail damage scanner to process the estimates.”

The province is dealing with a record number of hail claims this year; 11,600 thus far in 2023 alone, with a whopping 3,800 connected to a storm that hit the Winnipeg area on Aug. 24.

“We will see how it goes in the next week or two,” said Klassen.

MPI’s unionized workers have meanwhile been joined by local driving instructors on the picket lines, who say the strike is also impacting their business, as no new road tests are allowed to be booked.


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