Less traffic on the roads means fewer collisions and not as many claims.
However that does not mean Saskatchewan drivers impacted by the pandemic should expect to see a break on their monthly premiums to their auto insurance provider.
A spokesperson for SGI says while “they are considering options,” rate reductions do not appear to be one of them.
Tyler McMurchy says insurance costs are influenced by factors other than just the number of collisions.
“Storm claims, theft claims, the severity of injury claims and the fact that the technology in modern vehicles makes them increasingly expensive to repair” are some of those factors, said McMurchy in a statement to CBC.
“Just like when a severe winter storm results in a major uptick in collisions, or a hailstorm sweeps through an urban centre resulting in millions of dollars in claims, customers don’t experience an immediate rate increase. Rates are typically based on long term trends, rather than short term changes.”
McMurchy says while they understand the financial impact of the pandemic, SGI will consider all options for passing any savings on to the people of Saskatchewan.
“SGI and government will not see a financial windfall or profit whatsoever from this situation.”
Tyler McMurchy is the manager of media relations for SGI. (Trent Peppler/CBC)
This is not the same stance taken by some other insurance providers in the country.
Allstate Canada recently announced that it was introducing a “Stay at Home Payment” program to aid its auto insurance customers.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada, the national industry association representing some private insurers, also informed its members they were reducing premiums for the next 90 days.
“With fewer cars on the road, as many vehicles that were once driving to and from work are now parked,” said IBC president Don Forgeron.
“It was clear that the risk profile had changed, there wasn’t as much risk and the premiums ought to reflect that.”
But in Saskatchewan, McMurchy says the Auto Fund operates on a break-even basis over time, and does not provide money to, or take money from, the provincial government.
He says for customers facing financial challenges as a result of the pandemic, there are a number of ways to cut immediate costs such as deferring payments for up to 90 days or temporarily cancelling a vehicle’s registration so that they’re not paying a full premium for a vehicle they’re not using.