Public auto insurance is unique to Canada and provides government owned car insurance in the provinces of Saskatchewan, Quebec, Manitoba and British Colombia, with other provinces showing interest in establishing their own schemes. Studies have varied in the success of publicly owned insurance companies, with some studies suggesting average rates are cheaper in the provinces with publicly owned insurance, while other studies suggest the perverse is true, where rates are cheaper in the areas with a private system, like Ontario.
Manitoba Public Insurance is the sole provider of public auto insurance in the Canadian province of Manitoba which has been operating since 1971 providing auto insurance for the 1.2 million people who call Manitoba home. Many of the 1,750 staff work in one of the two contact centers agents or 122 claim agents, where customers can call week days till late and Saturdays til 4pm to ask questions, set up a policy or report a claim.
We met with some of the agents who work in the largest of the two centers, the staff were well trained and seemed happy to deal with all sorts of customer requests. We enjoyed hearing the many stories of calls the agents had taken, from a customer who had lost their car in the Walmart car park to a horse breeder who wanted to claim $10,000 on horse semen that was “damaged” in a collision, they certainly had plenty of fun from time to time. Admittedly we were surprised to find such a happy atmosphere in a call center, they told us the philosophy of their work place was to work hard and have fun, they explained that enjoying the place where you work leads to happy and satisfied customers because you yourself are happy. They acknowledged that this wasn’t the norm for a call center, most of the current employees had worked at other call centers before. They said it all started with one of the very first employees back in 1971 who would start the day by engaging with her staff through games like table tennis and cards, which now continues on right up to this day, showing that classical ideals last a lifetime!
Manitoba Public Insurance also operates the driver licensing centers on behalf of Manitoba State, allowing residents to renew and apply for licenses at any of the 147 authorized agents. The state body also operates a highly successful high school driving program where students gain 34 hours of classroom instruction and 16 hours of in car training and are only required to pay a $50 contribution fee. This also allows students to obtain their first driving license at only 15 years and 6 months of age, as opposed to the standard restriction of 16 years.
How to Make a Claim
Following any incident safety is always the first concern, even if you consider the incident to be minor, make sure you check the health of everyone involved and don’t hesitate to call the emergency services. Following from this you should swap contact details between everyone that has been involved and clear the road where possible to allow traffic to pass. The Highway Traffic Act requires all parties to give written information, it is also advisable to get contact information from any witnesses, even if you consider the incident to be resolved. You need to record the following information from any other drivers and any witnesses (both highlighted in bold, the rest are drivers only):