The Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) strike that started this week is causing varying problems for body shops. Craig Dunn Motor City's Body Shop is a Direct Repair partner, and they're faring somewhat differently than other shops may be.
Craig Dunn body shop manager Nick Plourde says they're not as nearly affected with delays as what some others will be as time progresses and what he's facing.
"I wouldn't quite say delays," says Plourde. "It's fast-track things, in a sense. It's just a lot more work put on the body shop. We have to do all the paperwork. We have to figure out what's related and what's not related. Anything that MPI would be doing, if you were to open a claim with them, we're taking those calls now."
He explains this means direct work through them rather than going through MPI as a middleman.
"Even as far as hail damage, which kind of sucks, because now we're counting each individual hail dent," continues Plourde. "We have to send pictures. Anything over five thousand dollars, if you're a shop in good standing, you're getting extra approval rates. Even when you're in the best standing, it doesn't take much to go over that threshold. So, it's a lot of waiting because, now, anything we're sending in isn't getting approved that's over that dollar amount. It still needs to be looked at by MPI."
Plourde says he thinks it'll be a long road to recovery in the next couple of weeks.
"There are other aspects of their (MPI's) job that no one's doing right now," notes Plourde. "So, anything that we can't do, and they aren't doing, is just going to be stacked up for them whenever they get back. It's gonna be a bit of a hassle. No one's doing certain things of their job while they're gone."
Craig Dunn's body shop is a Direct Repair site. This is the result of a pilot program they started almost seven years ago to take more off MPI's plate. Plourde explains shops can find more damage to vehicles than MPI usually does, seeing as they directly work on the vehicles.
He says MPI and body shops are all on the same team, adding he definitely feels for them in this time of striking. Plourde notes the body shops and Insurance are supposed to work together to get vehicles in pre-accident condition safely, as quickly as possible.
He shares what he'd like you to know as someone who may need body work done during this time.
"Work will still be done. Don't worry. I wouldn't stress about it. We're just kind of cutting out the middle man. As of right now, like hail, for instance, there are people who are booked out into the end of October to get looked at by MPI just due to how busy their estimators and adjusters are. Now, you can come directly to me in the body shop. I can do the hail estimate from start to finish as long as you have a claim number."
Even if you don't have a claim number, Plourde says they can reopen a claim for you.
"So, It could actually be faster as long as the parts are available and people are available to work on it," adds Plourde. "The vehicle will be getting looked at a lot faster than if it was booked with insurance right now."
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