In the wake of a severe hail storm that battered parts of Winnipeg a week ago, cleanup endeavors continue amidst growing confusion precipitated by an ongoing strike. Winnipeg citizens are concerned with navigating the aftermath and questioning how to progress with their damage claims.
According to Tyler Debow, owner of Miracle Dent Repair in Winnipeg, the city’s recovery landscape is “the most chaotic we’ve ever seen here.” The hail storm’s colossal destruction has already led his shop to schedule repairs far into November. Anticipating the magnitude of this current catastrophe, Debow predicts the total repair backlog may spill over into the next year.
In the period since last Thursday’s storm, the Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) reports they have received a staggering 3,000 hail damage claims. The situation further compounded on Monday when MPI employees initiated a strike following unsuccessful deal negotiations with the Crown corporation. Debow adds that this industrial action further complicates an already complex situation, with his business contending with hundreds of inquiries daily about claim procedures amidst the strike.
In light of the industrial action, customers are advised to seek vehicle estimates and repairs from MPI-accredited repair shops. MPI’s board of directors chair, Ward Keith, opines that the change in procedure — which allows clients to bypass reporting to MPI first before approaching a repair shop — should simplify the process for Manitobans. Keith suggests this alleviates an additional, stressful step they’d have to contend with, particularly during a period when hail claims inundate the system.
One such claimant, Amber Lahti, is among the many citizens anxiously awaiting repairs. Despite all their vehicles sustaining hail damage, Lahti considers herself amongst the fortunate ones whose vehicles remain operational. Still, she recounts that leverage is receding fast, calling MPI 70 times the week following the storm while recognizing that the ongoing strike could significantly protract her claim’s resolution.
Debow appeals to claimants’ patience amidst the highly challenging circumstances, firmly asserting that displaying hostility over the phone won’t expedite the situation.