By Kevin Psutka
This is the third in a series of COPA Flight articles providing feedback on comments made by members in our recent membership survey: www.copanational.org/files/2012Survey4Website.pdf. Some suggestions for improvement have cost implications and the COPA Board of Director's Strategic Planning Committee will be prioritizing them and providing direction for COPA staff. We in turn will report on progress or issues that prevent us from fully implementing some changes. Articles will be published as progress is made.
If you missed reading the first two topics of our "Survey Says!" articles go to the following link: www.copanational.org/FPAug12-2En.cfm and www.copanational.org/FPDec12-1En.cfm
COPA membership benefits
The survey question was: Which of the following COPA membership benefits do you want? The top five membership benefits were: in first place 78% of COPA members value Aircraft Insurance, in second Rust Removers (Annual Seminars) 53%, followed by Hotel and Car Rental discount at 43% and 41% then COPA Flights (local chapters) at 40.5%.
Aviation insurance continues to be considered a significant benefit for our members and consequently our staff spends a great deal of time negotiating with our broker and underwriter to make changes to this very comprehensive program.
Survey comments said that the specific benefits of COPA's chosen provider, be communicated clearly and any changes to this arrangement be communicated to the members as soon as possible.
The decision to change brokers was taken because of significant and longstanding complaints from members about level of service. The move to Magnes in 2011 took some members by surprise, primarily because we did not let anyone know about the change until within one month of the move.
We could not inform members sooner because there were contractual conditions with the existing provider that prevented earlier announcements. We did as much as we were permitted to do in order to get the word out, including direct mailings, several announcements in our newspaper and on our website.
In articles and other communications with members since the move to Magnes, we have highlighted several of the advantages of our revamped program and more our broker has written some insurance articles, and will do so again in the future, to explain coverage and options for members. But on top of the list of improvements to our program is the customer service promise for which we are holding our broker accountable. Members have indicated over the years the need for one-on-one service and Magnes has staff in place to receive your call.
Of course, there has to be a balance between number of staff and time to respond, but reports from members indicate that the level of personal service is working and valued by our members.
Rust Removers are encouraged by COPA, and COPA Flights volunteer to organize these events locally. In 2009 COPA National stimulated COPA Flights' activity by providing better structure – consequently new and re-activated COPA Flights are growing at an amazing rate, up to 10 Flights a year.
To better serve COPA Flights an online Control Panel was created for the appointed COPA Flight contact to use as many times as required to broadcast their COPA Flight contact information and meeting dates.
In response to the survey, COPA National is in the process of reviewing the discount packages for Hotel and Car Rentals for COPA members. Currently, COPA members are able to choose from a wide range of vendors and receive a reasonable discount. We are researching your usage of the programs and expect to be able to negotiate a better rate, particularly for car rentals, but that may come at the expense of choice.
If our members' car rental usage is concentrated into two or three vendors instead of the existing six, we will be able to benefit from the higher volumes and will be able to negotiate better rates on your behalf. If this approach is successful, we will look into applying it to the hotel discount program.
Two new COPA Guides were launched in 2013 providing additional benefits to members. The COPA Guide to Building a Hangar and the COPA Guide to Air Meets. You asked, COPA made it happen! "Survey Says" upcoming topics:
• Lobbying and promoting aviation in Canada
• Increasing awareness about aviation
• Providing more French translations
• Keeping cost down and providing discount for members
• Improving education through local COPA Flights
• COPA National promotion at Flight Schools and other newspapers or magazines