By issuing rebates to its customers and lowering rates by 8.8 per cent this year, Manitoba's public insurer has set an example for auto insurance companies across Canada, which are saving money during the pandemic, says an auto insurance comparison platform based in France.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/1/2021 (251 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

By issuing rebates to its customers and lowering rates by 8.8 per cent this year, Manitoba's public insurer has set an example for auto insurance companies across Canada, which are saving money during the pandemic, says an auto insurance comparison platform based in France.

It says insurance companies are benefiting from lower collision costs during COVID-19, but not all have passed along the savings to customers.

"Throughout our work, we just wanted to estimate the amount of savings that could have been made during 2020 on auto insurance premiums — a figure that we thought could be of interest for the public," said Alexandre Desoutter, spokesman for hellosafe.ca. The goal wasn't to shame "bad players of the pandemic," he said.

In a report this week, the company estimated a $202-million reduction in collision claims in Manitoba, and listed estimates for other provinces. Desoutter said they "salute" the 8.8 per cent overall rate decrease for Manitoba Public Insurance customers that was announced late last year.

That, along with the rebate cheques issued in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 and less traffic, "is a true example of what should be done all across Canada," Desoutter said.

Manitoba has had an estimated 27.3 per cent drop in claims costs as a result of the pandemic, the hellosafe.ca report said. The four largest provinces are expected to have the biggest decreases in claims costs — from a 31 per cent drop in Alberta to a 35 per cent decrease in Ontario.

The report said the auto insurance comparison platform is waiting to see if companies will pass any of the savings along to their customers in the form of refunds or rebates.

During COVID-19, MPI has returned $179 million in rebates directly back to its customers, "demonstrating the benefits of the public auto insurance model which exists in Manitoba," spokesman Brian Smiley said.

Thank coronavirus

The impact of COVID-19 restrictions on reducing driver activity, crashes and automobile insurance payouts in 2020 saved the auto insurance industry in Canada an estimated $6.7 billion.

In Manitoba, auto-related claims are down 27.3 per cent compared to a 32.9 per cent average reduction in motor vehicle accident claims across Canada.

In Manitoba, the estimated savings on auto insurance payouts is $ 202,211,994.

The impact of COVID-19 restrictions on reducing driver activity, crashes and automobile insurance payouts in 2020 saved the auto insurance industry in Canada an estimated $6.7 billion.

In Manitoba, auto-related claims are down 27.3 per cent compared to a 32.9 per cent average reduction in motor vehicle accident claims across Canada.

In Manitoba, the estimated savings on auto insurance payouts is $ 202,211,994.

Ontario has seen a 35.1 per cent decrease, followed by British Columbia (down 34 per cent) and Quebec (down 33.6 percent); with the smallest decreases in Nunavut (12 per cent), the Northwest Territories (11.2 per cent) and Yukon (7.8 per cent).

Most traffic accidents occur in dense urban areas.

Winnipeg accounts for more than half of the car insurance savings made in Manitoba: $119.5 million in 2020, followed by Brandon ($7.2 million saved) and Steinbach ($1.9 million).

Estimated decrease in claims, how much was saved:

Thompson 21.5 per cent ($1,701,581)

Portage la Prairie 18.8 per cent ($1,447,210)

Winkler 19.3 per cent ($1,413,783)

Selkirk 18.5 per cent ($1,100,201)

source: hellosafe.ca

Before MPI sent out millions in rebates and before the 8.8 per cent rate decrease — the biggest drop in 30 years — Manitobans already paid less for their auto insurance than residents of most major Canadian cities, the MPI spokesman said.

Longtime, safe drivers in Manitoba are eligible to receive a 33 per cent discount off their basic Autopac premium, and the average passenger vehicle premium in Manitoba is $1,100 annually, he said.

In its most recent annual report, MPI published a comparison of the cost of insuring the most common passenger vehicle registered in Manitoba — a Ford F150 XLT SuperCrew — in Winnipeg versus Calgary and Toronto, for different types of drivers, including a 21-year-old, claims- and convictions-free man, and a 40-year-old couple with a 16-year-old son. The young man would pay $1,795 a year in Winnipeg, $5,204 in Calgary and $6,004 in Toronto. The couple with the teenage son would pay $1,466 in Winnipeg, $4,878 in Calgary and $3,023 in Toronto.

Smiley said MPI is not aware of the comparison platform hellosafe.ca; nor has the Crown corporation shared any information with it.

The private firm's mission is to put forward insurance comparisons for Canadian customers, said Desoutter.

"For this particular study, we've worked with public figures released by the (Insurance Bureau of Canada) and its annual factbooks as well as claim samples provided by insurance players at a national level," he said. The company can build reliable estimates based on an array of data and factors, he said.

"To a greater extent, we also try to be an active player in the insurance and personal finance actuality field, bringing in content and data that bring more transparency and help fuel the debate — as we already do in France and in the U.K.," Desoutter said.

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.

   Read full biography