MPI Buying Votes with Your Money

Is MPI buying votes with your money? In late September, a sad spectacle played out on the evening news. Looking embarrassed and standing to the side, MPI’s president watched as Minister responsible for MPI Gord Mackintosh made a surprise announcement.

With neither warning nor a discussion in the upcoming Public Utilities Board hearing of MPI’s rate application, the NDP again used the Crown Corporation to provide an early Christmas present to 1% of MPI’s policyholders.

Mackintosh crowed that, from that day on, motorists having policies with either a $100 or $200 deductible will pay absolutely nothing if their vehicle was vandalized. In one grand flourish, the NDP disregarded insurance principles to seek the favour of some policyholders at the cost of all MPI’s insureds.

Vandalism has been an ongoing problem in River Heights and the west end. The windows of cars parked on the street overnight have been broken and owners’ possessions taken. Tail-lights have been smashed and paint jobs scratched. MPI indicates that 10,000 vandalism claims are filed annually, with some owners filing claims more than once.

Before Mackintosh’s surprise pre-election gift, policyholders filing vandalism claims had to pay deductibles of $100, $200 or $500. Most motorists opt for the lower deductible. Now, after Macintosh’s calculated offering, those with $100 or $200 deductible policies will pay nothing to repair their vehicle. Likely, many owners who accepted a higher level of financial risk with the $500 deductible option will now buy down their deductible and enjoy freedom from the worry of vandalism.

Macintosh also announced how MPI plans to pay for his calculated and politically motivated gift to motorists. Apparently, and at their next renewal, policyholders purchasing a $100 or $200 deductible policy will be greeted with a $5 annual increase in their premium.

All of this, on first blush, seems just wonderful. But, there are some problems that appear immediately. Let us risk it and “look the gift horse in the mouth.”

Car owners no longer need to worry where they park their car, nor do they need to worry about leaving valuables inside their cars. If you have a garage but are too tired to tuck your car away for the night, no worries, mother NDP will look after you. Manitoba is a nanny state, so leave all concerns to the government, at least until this nonsense is rolled back.

In 1987, during an earlier NDP reign, the people’s insurance company dropped more than $60 million in a single year. The loss, the reasons for it and a rate hike brought down that government when one of the NDP members crossed the floor and joined the opposition. At that time, deductibles were next to nothing and there was no incentive program to entice motorists to be more careful. Higher deductibles were put in place and an incentive program began, bringing to a quick end what had been large premium increases.

We have had “no-fault” accident benefits for 24 years, now we have “no-fault” vandalism coverage. Goodbye personal responsibility. So much for the value of the PUB hearings where major changes in policy direction should be discussed before being implemented.

This isn’t the first time the NDP has curried favour with MPI buying votes with your money at election time.

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