Appealing a vehicle claim

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Our aim is to treat all our customers fairly and to do our best to ensure your claims experience is a positive one.

By handling your claim in accordance with the provisions laid out in The Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation Act and its Regulations, we try to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and consistently.

Some claims are complicated. For example, conflicting witness information or lack of evidence can force us to make tough decisions, guided by the Act and its Regulations, in order to settle the claim. We'll make every effort to explain the rationale behind our decision but you, as the customer, retain the right to disagree with our findings.

If you aren't happy with the outcome of your claim, we offer several appeal alternatives where you can request a review of your file.

Appeal fault in collision claims

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your Autopac claim, the first thing to do is talk to your adjuster or your adjuster's supervisor about it. Make sure you understand why they assessed the claim the way they did. If you think they should reconsider the assessment, explain why you think they should.

You can also ask the Service or Claim Centre manager to review your file. If you still have concerns over the decision, discuss your claim with one of the Customer Relations officers. They can be reached through our Contact Centre at 204-985-7000.

If you're still not satisfied, you can pursue a formal appeal through a Liability Review or Small Claims Court (Collision Claims).

Liability Review

If you choose to appeal the outcome of your Autopac claim through the Liability Review process, your claim will be reviewed by an independent adjudicator who will provide an opinion on liability. If the adjudicator's opinion is that your liability percentage should be lower, we will change your liability assessment accordingly.

Here are a few things you need to know about the review process:

You have 30 days after receiving the assessment letter to contact your adjuster and request a Liability Review.

To proceed through a Liability Review, all parties involved in the collision must be insured through Basic Autopac.

Your adjuster will provide you with the Liability Review form, which you will complete and drop off at a Service Centre along with the required $50 fee.

An independent adjudicator will review your file and Liability Review form and provide an opinion on liability. (Be sure the form is filled out with everything you want the adjudicator to know since you will not speak to the adjudicator directly.)

If the adjudicator changes responsibility so that you are less than 50 per cent responsible, your review fee will be reimbursed.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the Liability Review, you may appeal through Small Claims Court. However, the reverse is not possible. If you appealed through Small Claims Court first, you cannot then appeal through a Liability Review.

Small Claims Court (collision claims)

If you choose to pursue a formal appeal option, the courts are ultimately the "last stop" in determining liability.

Small Claims Court is sometimes called "the people's court" because it's more informal than higher courts. You don't need a lawyer to make your case. Here are a few things you need to know about the process:

You have two years from the collision date to file your claim.

You can sue for your deductible. Or, you can ask the court just to decide who was at fault, without even suing for an amount.

There is a $75 charge to file a claim for an amount that is under $5,000 and $100 charge for an amount that is over $5,000. Filing an appeal must be done at 408 York Ave.

You sue whomever you believe caused the collision – you're the claimant and the other party is the defendant.

You have to accurately identify the party you're suing. That means you have to make sure you have the other party's name and address exactly right. Then, you have to "serve" the other party with a copy of the "Small Claims Form". You must also serve Manitoba Public Insurance with the claim form.

If you do not have the other party’s name and address, speak to your claim adjuster to fill out the necessary form so that you may obtain this information for Small Claims Court purposes.

It's up to you to put your case together as logically and clearly as possible.

We'll accept the court's decision, but either side has the right to appeal the decision within 30 days from the date on the Certificate of Decision. Call 204-945-3138 for more information.

Disagreements over collision repairs or settlement amounts

Sometimes claimants disagree with our assessment on how much a vehicle should be repaired, or what should be repaired on their vehicles. There can also be differences between what you think your vehicle is worth, and what we value it at, if the vehicle is deemed a write-off.

If you disagree with our repair or settlement decisions, you have a couple of options.

The first step is to talk things over with one of the claim supervisors – either the estimating supervisor for disagreements over repairs, or your adjuster's supervisor for disagreements over vehicle value. In many cases, the issue can be worked out once both parties fully understand where the other's concerns lie.

If we can't work it out, your case is then placed in the hands of two independent representatives, one representing you and one representing your adjuster. The two representatives then decide what the repairs or the settlement should be. At Manitoba Public Insurance, we call this procedure an independent appraisal process.

Independent Appraisal Process

During the independent appraisal process, you must indicate the amount for which you'll settle on a proof-of-loss form (provided by your adjuster). If we reject your offer of settlement, you can then choose an independent vehicle appraiser as your representative.

Your representative should be someone experienced in estimating repairs or valuing vehicles (such as a professional vehicle appraiser). Your adjuster can give you a list of reputable independent appraisers if you don't know anyone who can act on your behalf.

Make sure you send your representative's name, address and phone number to your adjuster by registered mail. We'll send our representative's name to you by registered mail within five days of receiving your letter.

Both representatives then try to agree on your vehicle's value or the repairs that are needed. If they agree, we both must accept the decision. If the representatives don't agree, they select a third independent individual, known as an umpire, whose decision is final and binding on both of us. If the representatives can't agree on the choice of an umpire, the courts will name one.

The Rates Appeal Board (RAB)

The RAB is an independent board that hears appeals on the additional driver premiums which are paid by customers with a negative placement on the DSR scale. The RAB doesn’t determine fault for a claim or overturn a conviction. The board has the authority to waive a portion of the premium, the entire amount, or to deny the appeal.

Appealing to the RAB:

You can appeal additional driver premiums from demerit points through the RAB if there is evidence of financial hardship.

You can also appeal to the RAB if you think the additional driver premium is based on incorrect information on your drivers’ record.

You must receive notice of the additional driver premium before you can appeal.

It costs $10 to start your appeal. If your appeal is successful, you are refunded the $10. If your appeal is not successful, you do not get refunded and you have to pay another $25 for making the appeal.

To appeal through the RAB, call 204-985-7071.

Appealing your position on the Driver Safety Rating Scale

To appeal your position on the DSR scale, you must appeal the at-fault accident or conviction that resulted in the demerits.

To appeal an at-fault accident, you should consider Small Claims Court, not the RAB.

To appeal a conviction that happened in Manitoba, you must go through the Manitoba courts.

More Information

Our Contact Centre staff can answer most questions about your Autopac insurance. If your question is more complex, they can put you in touch with one of our Customer Relations Officers who can research the matter in more detail.

An important outside agency to know about is the Provincial Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is completely independent from Manitoba Public Insurance and can review any complaint you have about any Manitoba government department or agency, including Manitoba Public Insurance. The Ombudsman has the legal authority to recommend changes to our position on a particular issue if he or she believes it's justified.

You can reach the Ombudsman at 204-982-9130.