$data.PageTitle

Manitoba Public Insurance in the Cityplace building in downtown Winnipeg. (File image)

WINNIPEG -- Manitoba Public Insurance is looking for a general rate decrease of 0.6 per cent for 2020-2021 as the Public Utilities Board hearing to determine the 2020 Autopac rates began Mon. Oct. 7.

The rate for private passenger vehicles would go down 0.9 per cent for the average driver, which would amount to $10 less for the average passenger-vehicle driver per year.

MPI says it’s able to ask for less thanks to cost efficiencies and fiscal responsibility. 

"At the end of the day, it's reflected in the rates that we're asking for," said MPI’s Brian Smiley.

Not everyone will be getting a discount though. 

Motorcycle rates would increase 5.1 per cent. MPIsays the increase is primarily driven by bodily injury costs.

"A single-vehicle motorcycle collision is around $13,000 in terms of cost," said Smiley. "A single-vehicle car crash is around $4,000."

Whatever the rate is set at, how ratepayers will pay it was a frequent topic of discussion at the hearing.

MPI says it's goal is to modernize its services, and it wants to give customers an online option. 

Officials tell CTV News, MPI does not want to restrict customers access to brokers, but the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba fears that could happen anyway. 

"If MPI goes direct to customers and takes half the market, there will be layoffs," said Grant Wainikka, the association’s CEO. "There will be business shutdowns."

Insurance brokers say in smaller, rural areas this could lead to less choice for people who don't want to go online for their vehicle insurance.

"As is the case with so many other things," said Wainikka. "The devil's in the details with this."

Some of those details may be hammered out at an upcoming arbitration process between the insurance Association and MPI. A conciliator has been picked for the non-binding meeting. No date has been announced.