February 22, 2006 by Canadian Underwriter
Manitoba vehicle owners are responding well to an initiative promoting the purchase of after-market vehicle immobilizers but the people whose vehicles are most at risk are not the ones buying the immobilizers, according to Manitoba Public Insurance.
“In January alone, we saw a surge of 1,500 new appointments for immobilizer installations, but less than a quarter were for owners of vehicles on our Top 100 list,” Tim Arnason, the director of auto theft prevention operations, said.
The Top 100 list outlines the make, model and year combinations that are targeted by thieves and stolen most frequently in Manitoba. These vehicles make up 17% of all automobiles in Winnipeg, but account for 68% of the theft claims in the city.
The Top 4 cars stolen in Manitoba over the past five years include the Dodge Caravan, the Plymouth Voyager, the Chrysler Intrepid and the Jeep Grand Cherokee, each with a 1-in-8 chance of getting ripped off.
And yet, the owners of such cars are not taking advantage of Manitoba Public Insurance’s immobilizer incentive program. Although the corporation has convinced more than 9,300 Manitobans to purchase after-market immobilizers in just six months, the public insurer remains concerned about the number of high-risk vehicles that are still unprotected.
“Without the protection of an immobilizer, they are sitting ducks for auto thieves,” Arnason said. “In Winnipeg, there are still about 47,000 of these vehicles out there on the streets 47,000 thefts just waiting to happen.”
Although the corporation’s immobilizer incentive program is available to all Manitoba vehicles, the Top 100 are its prime target. Unveiled in June, the immobilizer program offers the protection of an immobilizer at less than half the usual cost, with an annual $40 insurance discount that can offset the expense in less than three years.
With up to five years of free financing, Manitobans can theft-proof their vehicles immediately without paying anything up front.