Manitoba brokers are reporting no issues thus far servicing their auto insurance clients, as the Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) workers’ job action enters its second day.
“We at IBAM [Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba] hope for a speedy resolution that’s fair to all stakeholders,” IBAM CEO Grant Wainikka told Canadian Underwriter Monday, the first day MPI workers walked off the job. “As it is today, it is business as usual at brokerages across Manitoba and insurance professionals are ready and able to provide advice and service to our clients.”
Details of MPI’s offer to its unionized employees are available on the insurer’s website. Essentially, the public insurer is offering its unionized employees pay increase of up to 17%, broken down into five components:
- general wage increases (8%)
- a new permanent wage step (3.5%)
- a market adjustment for operations employees (1%)
- a $1,800 one-time, lump sum payment (2.8%), plus
- the projected impact of enhanced benefits on the average salary (1.7%).
For its part, the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU) says the government insurer’s claim of offering increases of “up to 17%” is misleading.
“Their claim that they have offered ‘up to 17%’ grossly inflates their actual offer by including non-wage items, one-time payments and other increases that flow only to some members,” MGEU states on its website. “The reality of the offer is that it would provide about half of all MPI members with wage increases of just 2% per year.” Under this interpretation, the wage increase “falls far short of inflation and far short of what the Premier and cabinet ministers are taking for themselves,” the union says.
Negotiations broke down on Sunday and 1,700 MPI workers went on strike Monday.
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As a result of the job action, all MPI service and claim centres, including its physical damage centre, will be closed to the public until further notice. All driver testing, estimating, adjusting and driver fitness appointments are cancelled. Affected customers will be contacted to reschedule at a later date.
MPI says customers with general inquiries or front-end service transactions, including licensing renewal and insurance payments, can do so through MPI’s nearly 300 broker partners.
The MPI contact centre remains open for reporting personal injury claims, non-drivable collision claims, and total-theft claims. Customers reporting all other passenger vehicle claims — including cars, SUVs, and light duty trucks — are advised to go directly to an MPI-accredited repair shop for vehicle estimates and repairs without calling MPI first.
Essential services, such as income replacement payments for personal injury claimants, will continue uninterrupted.
Should the strike drag on for a prolonged period, Wainikka said brokers will need to work with MPI to work out some adjustments for processing specific transactions.
“Over time, there may be some adjustments made in instances where MPI staff traditionally need to approve or override the specific transaction,” Wainikka told CU. “IBAM will work with MPI to identify these transactions and look for ways to improve the experience for affected customers.
“Ultimately, brokerages want to provide the best advice and service possible to our clients.”
Photo Credit: Workers at Manitoba’s auto insurance Crown corporation went on strike Monday, as Premier Heather Stefanson criticized union leaders for rejecting a wage offer. Stefanson speaks during a news conference, in Winnipeg, on Monday, June 19, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck