No rebates are going out to Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) customers at this time, according to the provincial government.
Minister Responsible for SGI Don Morgan said on Monday the Saskatchewan auto fund is in the range of about a billion dollars.
“The auto fund is a part of SGI that is responsible for the insurance and licensing of motor vehicles,” he said.
“They maintain a significant cash reserve within the fund to allow for significant losses, change in values of the fund, market conditions, et cetera.”
In terms of a rebate from the Crown corporation like the one seen earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, Morgan said this will be looked at in the future.
“Last year, we paid out. The fund got significantly more funds in it … for two reasons: one, because people didn’t drive as much because of COVID and market conditions were really good. So we paid out about $380 for an average vehicle,” he said.
“Right now, market conditions are somewhat turbulent. We saw during 2020 the value of the fund changed up and down $500 million in a relatively short period of time. It’s back stable again so we think it’s just not a good time to go through that.
“The rebates are expensive to prepare and to send out because it’s a calculation that depends on what’s happened. And then you disqualify anybody that’s got outstanding claims or money owing. So it’s a right thing to do but it’s an expensive thing to do and will want to do it when the time is right.”
Morgan said the Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel recommended a small decrease in customer payments.
“We have decided against that. We’d like to wait and just maintain some stability within the fund,” Morgan said.
“We have taken the advice of the rate review panel and have done what’s called a rate rebalancing, where rates of different classes of vehicle are adjusted up or down depending on what the cost to repair or the number of claims that a different class has.”
SGI will implement a revenue-neutral rate rebalancing on auto fund premiums. Officials said roughly half of customers will see a decrease in their auto fund premiums and no one will see an annual increase higher than 10 per cent.
The rate changes are expected to be implemented on April 1, 2022.
Morgan said there will be no rate changes for motorcycles and taxis.
“Taxis have been significantly impacted by Uber, Lyft and some of the changes in market conditions. And we’d like to be able to give them the opportunity to try and get their technology and their method of doing business back on track,” he said.
“We’d like to work with the taxi business to try and get their technology working so that they’re on a level playing field. Motorcycles, we’ve got to do some work to reduce the number of claims they’ve done that in the past and would like to be able to do that again.”
“Motorcycles are more inherently dangerous or more inherently serious injuries so we will probably postpone doing anything with regard to motorcycles.”