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MPI takes swing at golfers' loopholes

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Manitoba Public Insurance wants to close a couple of loopholes that allow golfers to collect benefits if they wipe out in a golf cart or racers who crash their sports car on a closed racing track.

The changes and other new provisions are contained in the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation Amendment Act introduced today by Justice Minister Andrew Swan.

MPI general counsel and corporate secretary Kathy Kalinowsky said today MPI wants to close the loopholes because of recent court decisions that found MPI owed benefits to injured golfers and racers. Golf carts are not registered with MPI, although three cases are currently before the courts seeking benefits from MPI.

The change to exclude golf carts from MPI’s personal injury protection plan will also include electric bikes, Segways and children’s battery operated car unless they are involved with a collision with a vehicle registered with MPI.

Kalinowsky said MPI and the province will also set up new fraud penalties against people caught lying about their claims. The new provincial offence will be created for claimants who knowingly provide false information or mislead MPI on a claim. Previously, people caught lying about a claim were charged under the Criminal Code.

Under the amendments, the maximum fine for an individual would be $50,000 and $500,000 for a corporation.

MPI is also increasing the death payment to $13,154 from $5,000, which has been in place since 1994.

The amendments also include MPI’s ability to support the government’s low-cost winter tire incentive program.

MPI would also be given the authority to collect information on claims from the Office of the Fire Commissioner, municipal fire departments, local emergency services departments and police services.

History

Updated on Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 3:13 PM CDT: Corrects claim costs.

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