Canadian Underwriter

Manitoba Public Utilities Board calls for 8% premium decrease for basic auto insurance premiums

December 13, 2011   by Canadian Underwriter

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The Manitoba Public Utilities Board (PUB) has ordered Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) to reduce its overall basic premiums and fees by 8%.
PUB further approved MPI’s application for enhanced fleet rebates and increased drivers’ premiums for those at the top of the Driving Safety Rating scale.
MPI sought an overall 6.85% decrease in written premium revenue for vehicles insured during the 2011-12 insurance year, effective Mar.1, 2012.
In its order PUB, expressed concern about MPI’s operating cost increases. It further sought “more transparency with respect to the corporation’s overall operations, and directs an increased focus on road safety (calling for a conference to identify and review potential road safety measures).”
The PUB’s concerns about transparency were the subject of a Manitoba Court of Appeal ruling in November 2011.
In Public Utilities Board v. Manitoba Public Insurance Corp., the PUB asked the court to answer a question about whether or not the PUB had the jurisdiction to require MPI to disclose MPI’s “actual and projected financial information including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, itemized revenues, itemized gross and net costs or expenses, earnings, overall retained earnings, reserves and provisions, cost allocations (including for such expenses as staffing costs), and investment income allocations; and information concerning [MPIC’s] policies, plans and decisions” related to the basic insurance program.
The court elected not to answer the PUB’s question.
“The description of the documents and information is so wide and so general that it is impossible to determine exactly what types of documents and information could potentially be included,” the Appeal Court found. “The question stated by the PUB in this case does not relate to specific documents or information in the context of a specific rate application, but rather asks this court to declare that it, effectively, has carte blanche to obtain any information from the MPIC related to the non-basic lines of business that it decides it needs.
“For the reasons set out above, the case before us raises serious questions as to the need for the PUB to have unfettered access to documents and information that, on the face, appear to be irrelevant to its limited mandate.”

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