Canadian Underwriter

Public auto insurer to issue pandemic rebate cheques

February 26, 2021   by Jason Contant

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Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) is the latest public auto insurer to announce customer rebates for drivers resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Both Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) and the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) announced rebates in January and February, respectively.

While details are still being finalized, it’s expected the average SGI rebate will work out to approximately $285 per vehicle, or about 26% of an average annual premium in Saskatchewan, SGI said in a press release Friday.

In addition to the one-time rebates to all registered vehicle owners, the government auto insurer is improving injury benefits for its most seriously injured customers.

“The Saskatchewan Auto Fund Rate Stabilization Reserve is in a very strong financial position due to very strong investment returns and – to a smaller degree – fewer collision claims due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Don Morgan, minister responsible for SGI. “As a result, SGI will pass on these earnings to the people of Saskatchewan by issuing rebates to all registered vehicle owners and by improving injury benefits.”

The provincial government has approved the one-time rebate of $285 million. The amount each customer receives will vary, based on a proportion of vehicle premiums paid in the previous three years.

Rebate cheques will be issued in May and sent through the mail to residents of Saskatchewan who have paid Auto Fund premiums in the past three years. Customers are encouraged to verify that their mailing address is up to date by visiting to confirm or by contacting their local motor licence issuer.

As part of its roughly $350 million in earnings, SGI is also enhancing benefits in two ways for customers who receive long-term injury benefits as a result of vehicle collisions:

  • Customers who require assistance with daily tasks (such as dressing, bathing, cooking, cleaning and yard care) will see the maximum payments for those services “increase to better reflect current market rates,” SGI said, without elaborating. This is expected to benefit more than 1,100 customers
  • Customers who receive income replacement benefits from SGI and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) will no longer have income benefits from SGI reduced by their CPP payment. “It is standard industry practice to reduce insurance benefits by the CPP payment,” the insurer said. “SGI is leading the industry by eliminating this practice, to the added benefit of our most seriously injured customers. It is estimated that this will benefit approximately 200 people.”

SGI’s announcement follows those of Canada’s two other fully public auto insurers, ICBC and MPI (not including Quebec, which has a public-private hybrid auto insurance model where the government pays compensation for bodily injury, while vehicle damage coverage is provided by private insurers).

On Feb. 2, ICBC said its customers will receive one-time rebates averaging $190. ICBC reported at the time that it will begin mailing rebate cheques in mid-March 2021. In general, customers who had an active policy from Apr. 1 to Sept. 30, 2020 will be eligible, with the rebate amount based on a portion of their coverage payment during that period.

MPI said Jan. 19 that 675,000 COVID-19 rebate cheques were in the mail. MPI issued its first round of COVID-19 rebates totalling $110 million in May 2020; the second round of rebates, totalling $69 million, was announced in January. The latest rebate was made possible by the combination of fewer collision claims (about 20% lower from mid-March to the end of October 2020, compared to the previous year) and MPI’s forecast of collision frequency remaining “favourable” into the spring. Rebates were based on what policyholders paid during mid-March to October 2020, estimated to be about 6% of their annual Basic Autopac premium.


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