Canadian Underwriter

Brokers negotiate major role in this province’s digital auto insurance distribution

January 14, 2021   by Greg Meckbach

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Manitoba’s brokers will provide input on designing a system for online auto insurance in the province and will be involved in every digital transaction, says the provincial broker association.

A recently-signed, five-year agreement between Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) and the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba takes effect Apr. 1, IBAM CEO Grant Wainikka told Canadian Underwriter Thursday. The new agreement defines how public auto insurance will be delivered in the future.

MPI is the provincial crown corporation that writes auto insurance in Manitoba. Like Saskatchewan and British Columbia, Manitoba has a government monopoly on compulsory auto insurance.

In 2019, MPI was instructed by Colleen Mayer, then minister of crown services, to negotiate with IBAM over customer transactions. At that time, MPI was concerned there was “very limited” online capability, while brokers were concerned about the possibility of MPI becoming a direct writer.

Under the terms of the new agreement, brokers will be the online and digital distribution channel for MPI insurance transactions from 2021 through 2026, Wainikka told Canadian Underwriter Thursday.

“A Broker of Record is required with every online insurance transaction. A broker will be available to every customer to ensure protection, service, consultation and choice,” said Wainikka.

IBAM and MPI agreed that the five (5) year renewal model in place will be replaced by an annual renewal system once regulations/Project Nova make this possible. ”

Brokers will have input into the design and development of the future online service delivery, including customer journey-mapping, said Wainikka.

“We believe it is important to have a licensed insurance professional involved in every insurance decision.”

By having a broker of record for every online MPI transaction, Manitoba motorists can get trusted advice from a licenced broker, and each online transaction will have professional oversight, IBAM suggests.

Once online service delivery is implemented, MPI will develop monthly reporting for brokers, said Wainikka. This would provide advance notice for renewals and let brokers ensure continuance of coverage, provide advice, and service their clients.

MPI spokesperson Brian Smiley described in late 2019 what Manitoba residents had to do at that time to report a change-of-address to MPI.

“You literally have to leave your residence, go to the Autopac agent closest to your neighbourhood, and make that change with the Autopac contact in their office,” Smiley told Canadian Underwriter at that time. “Some customers have told us they maybe want to make that change at ten at night. They want to be able to do that online.”

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