Rates approved for new ‘Vehicles for Hire’ insurance use: Manitoba Public Insurance

Manitoba Public Insurance’s Interim Vehicles-for-Hire (VFH) Application has been approved by the Public Utilities Board.

The new VFH insurance rates will be available to private passenger vehicle and light truck owners interested in offering ride-share services in accordance to municipal bylaws starting March 1, 2018. The same rating model will apply to existing classes of vehicles for hire, such as taxicabs, limos, and accessible vehicles.

“Manitoba Public Insurance continues to value the important role that the Public Utilities Board plays in approving rates for Basic auto insurance in Manitoba,” said Ward Keith, vice-president, Business Development and Communications, Manitoba Public Insurance. “With this ruling, the Corporation looks forward to continuing discussions with ride-share service providers such as UBER and Lyft with a view to welcoming them to the province of Manitoba starting on March 1st.

Under the approved framework, insurance rates for private VFH operators will be assessed a maximum of 20 percent higher than the standard all-purpose insurance rate, which is equivalent to the premium differential in other jurisdictions. Recognizing the importance of not creating unnecessary financial barriers to entry for ride-share operators, interested customers will have the flexibility to reduce the premiums they pay even further by selecting operating time bands if they want to. These time bands will allow VFH operators the opportunity to tailor their insurance coverage, and associated premiums, based on when and how often they intend to offer vehicle for hire services.

Time band options will be:

A) Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday through Thursday, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

B) Nightly, 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

C) Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

D) Friday, 6 p.m. through Sunday, 11 p.m.

Under the approved framework, insurance rates for taxicabs, limousines and accessibility vehicles will not change, unless fewer than all four time bands are selected, in which case premiums will be priced for risks within those declared time bands based on current claims data.

“As the election of time bands is flexible, customers can tailor their operating periods and related insurance costs to fit their availability and desired part-time or full-time vehicles for hire participation level,” added Keith. “For those operators that want complete flexibility to offer ride-share services at any time of the day or night, selection of all four time bands will allow for 7/24 operation at a cost that is equivalent to the additional premiums charged in other jurisdictions.”

All vehicle for hire operators will have the opportunity to purchase Autopac extension products (i.e.: buy down their deductible/increase third party liability limits). Driver Safety Rating discounts will also apply to individual customers.

In its application, Manitoba Public Insurance stated that the basic, compulsory insurance program in Manitoba requires insurance to be placed – and claims costs tracked – at the vehicle level based on declared vehicle use. Doing so ensures that regular passenger vehicle owners will not subsidize the claims costs of ride share service providers, just like they don’t subsidize the claims costs for taxicabs or commercial trucks today.”

Tracking claims experience separately for VFH operators will allow for insurance rates to be adjusted over time as actual claims experience for vehicle for hire operations is developed in Manitoba.

Recognizing the needs of ride share service providers, Manitoba’s public auto insurer will also offer a blanket insurance policy to ensure that these platform providers are fully protected from financial and reputational risk in the event that one of their Manitoba operators is involved in a collision and is determined to be improperly insured while operating on the platforms.

“Manitoba Public Insurance looks forward to continuing ongoing dialogue with ride share service providers such as UBER and Lyft to make it as easy as possible to enter the Manitoba market and begin offering their services to Manitobans starting March 1,” said Keith.

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