St.Claude Autobody is on the leading edge of MPI's new Direct Repair Program

St.Claude Autobody has been working closely with Manitoba Public Insurance on a new program that is designed to make the insurance claim and repair process easier and more efficient for customers.

This new program is known as Direct Repair and is described by MPI on their website as follows:

Direct Repair enables customers with eligible claims to proceed directly to a participating repair shop for a vehicle damage estimate after reporting the claim to MPI, instead of attending an MPI Service or Claim Centre.  Direct Repair streamlines the repair process and can save time by eliminating the need to visit MPI for the first vehicle damage estimate.

St.Claude Autobody has been working for months to ensure that they were on the leading edge of the program and on March 1st, they were one of only a few shops in Manitoba that transitioned seamlessly into the Direct Repair Program.  As of June 1st, MPI has lifted the veil on the program and is allowing shops to advertise their participation in the Direct Repair Program.

The main benefit to the program, as mentioned in the MPI statement above, is that on qualifying claims, customers will now have the option of attending a Direct Repair Facility such as St.Claude Autobody for the initial damage estimate. 

The new claim process will go as follows:

  • Call MPI first to report the claim
  • Obtain an eligible claim number from MPI; and,
  • Call St.Claude Autobody to book an estimate and to arrange for repairs.

After the initial call to MPI to start the claim, the customer will be dealing solely with the Direct Repair facility for the rest of the estimating and repair process.

When St.Claude Autobody designed and built their brand new shop in 2014, a dedicated estimating bay was an essential part of their future plans.

When St.Claude Autobody designed and built their brand new shop in 2014, a dedicated estimating bay was an essential part of their future plans.

Although MPI has only recently introduced the Direct Repair Program, St.Claude Autobody has been operating similarly since 2012, when they started performing pre-inspections on all vehicles with claims for their customers.  This practice still exists today at a larger volume and goes by the acronym ‘ERP’ which stands for ‘Enhanced Repair Planning’. ERP was not common practice back in 2012 and is still only performed by a handful of shops , as it is a completely different approach to writing estimates and completing repairs.  Typically, shops would use the 1st estimate written by the MPI estimator to order the required parts and schedule the customer for repairs. Because the MPI estimator is not allowed to remove anything from the vehicle when writing their estimate, more often than not, hidden damage was only discovered once the vehicle was in the shop for repairs, which unavoidably slows down the repair process. In this scenario, the shop would then need to get approval from MPI for the additional repairs, and would need to wait for the additional parts to arrive before continuing.

With the introduction of the Direct Repair Program, St.Claude Autobody has merged it’s Enhanced Repair Planning with the initial claim estimate appointment to write a thorough estimate the first time and save their customers downtime without their vehicle.  Their process includes scheduling the customer for a 1 hour appointment (depending on the extent of the damage) so that they could take the vehicle apart to capture ALL the damage before bringing the vehicle in for repairs. This way, they could get the necessary approvals and required parts ahead of time, which in turn reduced the amount of time the vehicle was in the shop for repairs.

Repairs completed in St. Claude Autobody's facility, take on average, half the time of repairs completed using the conventional repair process. This saves both MPI and it’s ratepayers money as rental car costs are kept to a minimum. This new and improved process did not go unnoticed by both the customers and MPI. 5 years after St.Claude Autobody started the ERP program, MPI is rolling out the Direct Repair Program, and St.Claude Autobody is hitting the ground running.