Critics clam government involvement in MPI online insurance negotiations with brokers

Published: July 29, 2019

Updated: September 1, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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Controversy continues to surround the decision to include private insurance brokers in plans to move Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) transactions online. A week after saying the government is considering making MPI private, the NDP says private brokers are being given an edge

MPI transactions will be moving online for basic customer needs. The provincial government has stepped into negotiations and ordered the public insurer to appoint a conciliator for negotiations with the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba. Previously, the government said private brokers must be included in the online system.

“In recent weeks I have reports that there’s been better discussion happening, but we want to accelerate that process,” explained Premier Brian Pallister.

NDP Leader Wab Kinew is a critic of the government’s involvement and says the order gives brokers an edge in negotiations.

“Mr. Pallister has handed the brokers a veto in these negotiations,” Kinew said, adding that the order is “a bizarre decision” and “bad news for motorists.”

Kinew says MPI could simply movie its sales online without the need to work with brokers but is negotiating out of good faith.

“One of the preconditions that Mr. Pallister has now set is that, until there is a conclusion that the brokers agree with, MPI can’t move anything online,” he mentioned.

“Effectively, what Mr. Pallister has done is he has handed this negotiation over to the insurance brokers and given them complete carte blanche to set whatever terms that they want.”

As for MPI, it says that it is committed to working with IBAM and the government.

“The corporation must follow the government’s directive and we will continue to keep our customers’ best interests at the forefront of any conciliation,” the company said.