Following announcement of higher than normal claims payouts this summer, Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) is taking back its request to the province for a rate reduction for motorists. Hail storms in August are partly to blame for the decision, which will see MPI “hold the line” on rates yet again. The public insurer had requested a 1.2% reduction in rates, but will now request the same revenue as last year. The reduction would have amounted to about $3 on average per policy on basic auto insurance. “Earlier this week we reported that both the volume and severity of claims filed for the first six months of our fiscal year was up significantly, ” notes Jack Zacharias, president and CEO of MPI. Claims costs were up about 20% for the six-month period compared with last year, and were at “winter time levels”, rather than the expected summer slowdown in claims. Hail damage brought in more than 10,000 claims, forcing MPI to open an emergency claims center and costing the corporation about $3 million. Overall, about 48% of drivers will see rates drop or stay the same, and the rest will see rates go up, with the majority rising by $20 or less, MPI reports. Over premiums collected by MPI in 2002 will be the same as in 1998. Commercial vehicle and motorcycle rates should increase, by 11.1% and 15% respectively, as per MPI’s original rate filing. Trailers and off-road vehicles will see rate decreases, as per a request by the province’s Public Utilities Board, which makes the decision on rate filings.