More Merits And Greater Savings For Safe Drivers: MPIC

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Launch of new Driver Safety Rating program

January 25, 2010 – A new program for setting driver’s licences and vehicle premiums that will save Manitobans nearly $1 million in driver premiums will come into effect – on March 1, 2010 – announced Manitoba Public Insurance’s CEO and President Marilyn McLaren.

“The new Driver Safety Rating will bring about greater savings for safe drivers, which is an added financial incentive to drive safely,” said McLaren.

“It’s also easier to understand and clearly demonstrates that the way you drive will affect the amount you pay.”

Over the next 14 months, all customers will move from the current merit discount program to the Driver Safety Rating — exactly when will depend on the driver’s anniversary day (four months after their birth date). All customers will be on the new system by February 28, 2011.

Manitoba Public Insurance expects that by 2013 some Manitobans will save up to 30 per cent on vehicle insurance premiums.

“The majority of Manitobans are good drivers,” said McLaren. “Under the new program 93 per cent of all Manitoba drivers will pay the same or less for their Autopac.”

The DSR has a number of built-in incentives for Manitobans to drive safely:

  • Instead of five merits, Manitobans will be able to earn up to 15 merits for safe driving
  • Those with a record of safe driving will earn one merit for every year of driving with no at-fault collisions or traffic convictions. Under the current system it takes two years of safe driving to earn one merit
  • With more merit levels, it will be possible for a driver to have more than one at-fault crash and still receive a discount. Subject to Public Utilities Board approval, very safe drivers could earn even better discounts after reaching the highest point on the scale

Manitoba Public Insurance customer research supports this approach. In surveys, 95 per cent of good drivers and 84 per cent of average drivers stated it was important or extremely important to consider a person’s driving history when determining the individual’s insurance rates.

“Under the new program, drivers will receive the same, or even a larger discount, on their Autopac premium that they had under the old system,” said McLaren. “Where you’re placed on the new scale will depend on how many merits you have, combined with your accumulated years of claims free driving.”

Example #1: A driver who has five merits and the past 15 or more years of driving with no at-fault accidents or traffic convictions will be assigned to the highest DSR level of 15. This driver will receive a $30 discount on their driver’s licence premium, in addition to a 25 per cent discount off their Autopac premium.

Example #2: A driver with five merits and the past five years of driving with no at-fault accidents or traffic convictions will be assigned at DSR level 10. This driver will receive a $25 discount on their driver’s licence premium, in addition to a 25 per cent discount off their Autopac premium.

New program easier to understand

Currently, there are four separate programs that determine a driver’s vehicle and licence premiums: two surcharge programs for licences (one for convictions and one for collisions), a merit/demerit program for driver’s licences and a different merit discount program for Autopac premiums. These programs each have their own sets of rules.

McLaren says few Manitobans understand how all of these individual programs work.

“That limits the system’s effectiveness and makes it harder to see that safe driving can save money, while higher-risk driving can lead to higher costs,” she says. “Sometimes, drivers don’t realize where they’re headed until these costs become unmanageable.”

The new DSR program will merge these individual programs and rules into one consistent cohesive program that’s easier to understand.

Until recently, it wasn’t practical to combine all of these different programs, as some of them were administered by Manitoba Public Insurance, while others were overseen by the Department of Transportation.

That changed in 2004, when the operations of Driver and Vehicle Licensing were merged into Manitoba Public Insurance. Since then the Corporation has been harmonizing its processes for driver licensing and auto insurance. Now, the Corporation has a more complete set of data and can apply rules consistently across all programs.

To learn more about the new DSR, Manitobans can talk to their Autopac agent, or call Manitoba Public Insurance at 985-7000, or 1-800-665-2410 (toll free). Manitobans can also learn more about the new program by going to the DSR Rate Calculator found at www.mpi.mb.ca.

About Manitoba Public Insurance

Manitoba Public Insurance is a non-profit Crown Corporation that has provided basic automobile coverage since 1971. Our services are available throughout Manitoba in claim centres and Customer Service centres. www.mpi.mb.ca.