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Supporting our networks
The lockdown has had a significant impact on our group activities, as we explain below, but here at MA Group we have remained open and have kept the money flowing to our networks. With support from our clients, and incredible commitment from our staff, we have ensured that our building contractors, surveyors and franchisees have been financed thoughout this difficult period.
As the lockdown eases we are seeing more and more activity in the construction industry, with the exception of Scotland. We are working towards our “new normal” but it will take time for the industry to regain the ground lost since 23rd March. Luckily, many of our clients are supporting us in the transition to new normal and we expect capacity to increase significantly over the next few weeks.
And we have completed a few projects ready for the upturn in business. We have moved Virtus onto Pulse (see below) and painted and refreshed the Aylesbury office.
We have kept calm and carried on!
The biggest impact of the Covid-19 crisis has been felt by MA Assist‘s building contractors, even though the government was clear that the construction industry did not need to close. On 31st March the Rt Hon Alok Sharma, MP Secretary of State Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, issued an open letter to the construction industry clarifying the regulations in relation to the construction industry, stating:
“…we know that for many people working in construction their job requires them to travel to their place of work, and they can continue to do so. This is consistent with the Chief Medical Officer’s advice.”
However, many construction companies and builder repair networks closed as they followed the actions of the tier 1 construction contractors and house builders who voluntarily chose to halt works on site, due to a combination of media pressure, staff concerns and materials availability. This was very unfortuante for many customers across the UK who were in the middle of a property insurance claim.
With construction completely closed in Scotland, builders merchants closed all over the country and limited access to occupied properties we are amazed at how many of our contractors have been able to stay open throughout the lockdown period (albeit working at a much reduced capacity). We are particularly proud of those contractors who have continued to work on properties that were flooded badly back in February. They have understood that lockdown in temporary accommodation for homeowners has not been easy, and many of our contractors have worked hard to minimise the delays on these jobs.
Staying open was not an option for some contractors, but we are delighted to see that most of MA Assist‘s contractors outside Scotland are back at work. The construction sector has a strong culture of health and safety and is able to adapt to changes to keep employees, sites and customers safe whilst carrying out works. We are continuing to support our contractors to keep everyone safe and to follow the latest government guidance.
Our Revival franchisees have continued working and have been responding to emergencies as normal. Fortunately, the nature of their work and remote monitoring systems has limited their exposure to customers and meant that the Revival branches have been able to continue delivering their services in most areas.
Virtus surveyors have continued to operate but the volume of claims coming through has been significantly reduced by the crisis and the lovely weather, but they have been able to attend when needed.
Thank you to our clients who have supported us, and therefore supported our networks, through supporting the initiatives that we introduced to ensure that cash continued to flow to the contractors, franchisees and other suppliers. Through your support during this difficult time you have helped to ensure that the networks will still be there for your customers when the “new normal” arrives.
And finally, thank you to our wonderful staff. Thank you to those we have had to furlough, we really appreciate your patience and understanding. And thank you to the remaining staff who have worked hard to keep things going in difficult circumstances from your spare bedrooms, kitchens and studies. We are starting to welcome some of you back to the office, with strict Covid-19 guidelines in place of course, and hope to bring more back over the coming weeks.
New normal initiatives
As the lockdown eases we are seeing more and more activity in the construction industry, with the exception of Scotland. We are working towards our “new normal” but it will take time for the industry to regain the ground lost since 23rd March.
During the last few weeks we have been working with our clients on a number of initiatives to help the restart and provide a financial stimulus to help our MA Assist contractors cope with the demands and challenges of our “new normal”. In many ways the restart is more difficult than the lockdown as contractors have to fund works that won’t be invoiced and paid for several weeks.
So again, thank you to those clients who have agreed to fund the additional costs of working in the new normal (PPE equipment, more expensive materials and travel costs) and have approved general rates increases. Your actions have helped to ensure that safe working practices will continue and your customers will see the benefits.
Virtus on Pulse
While instructions have been a little down for Virtus we have made the most of things and continued to invest in the business. We have successfully transferred the Virtus operation onto Pulse, our group claims management system. This means that all Insurance Services companies are now operating on one common platform, which creates the following benefits for clients and customers:
MA Group MAD awards
The April MAD winner was Poppy Wakefield..
Poppy was nominated by the Revival South West branch for her assistance on several very complicated and sensitive claims where she was instrumental in helping the branch appease concerns and progress the claims. Poppy was able to escalate elements of the claims to senior associates within insurance and loss adjusting companies, which led to decisive action with a positive outcome on the claims. The branch recognised that Poppy always supplies feedback and is very reliable and efficient.
Well done Poppy.
MA Group Awards Lunch postponed
We are very disappointed to announce that we have decided to postpone the inaugural MA Group Awards Lunch which was due to take place on Thursday 15th October 2020 at Chartered Accountants Hall in Moorgate, London. It is highly unlikley that the hospitality industry will be operating normally by then, so rather than compromise and lay on a reduced event, we would rather postpone it until early next year.
We will be in touch later this year with our revised plans.