Sask. NDP promising lower insurance premiums if elected this fall

NDP leader Ryan Meili announces lower rates and $100 rebate for Saskatchewan drivers during an event on Thursday, September 10th in front of the SGI Driver Exam Office in Regina. (Photo: Moises Canales/620 CKRM)

The Saskatchewan NDP is committed to reducing auto insurance premiums and providing a $100 rebate to every SGI rate payer if elected as the next government this fall.

Meili told reporters Thursday morning that they would reduce Saskatchewan’s auto insurance rate by seven per cent, or $85 per year.

Party Leader Ryan Meili made the announcement and said it’s an opportunity to make life more affordable for families during a difficult year.

He said they can do this because SGI’s Rate Stabilization Reserve, designed as a backup fund to prevent large increases to premiums, has grown almost five-fold.

“It’s been allowed to balloon beyond what is necessary, from $218-million in 2014, to now over a billion dollars, and it’s much more than is necessary these are dollars that Saskatchewan ratepayers have overpaid,” Meili said.

On August 27, SGI released its report for its first quarter showing the Rate Stabilization Reserve (RSR), which is designed to act as a buffer to prevent large increases to premiums, has grown from $218 million in 2014 to more than $1 billion this year. It now sits $117 million above SGI’s target, while SGI premiums have not changed for Saskatchewan families.

Meili was promptly asked if the promise was a ploy to buy votes, he responded by saying it’s about fairness.

“This is about us doing our research are recognizing that there’s money sitting there right now that people could use, and it’s not going to a good use right now, it could be in the pockets of ordinary people, that’s where we think it belongs,” Meili responded.

NDP plan would “plunge Saskatchewan”

In an emailed response, the Saskatchewan Party government said the NDP’s plan to use the SGI RSR to reduce rates and hand out rebates “would plunge Saskatchewan almost $400 million further into deficit over the next four years.”

The government explains that $100 rebates per driver would result in a one-time, $115 million drop to the reserve, resulting in the same amount being added to the provincial deficit. As for the seven per cent premium reduction, the Sask. Party estimates it would turn to a $70 million annual decrease in revenues to SGI, or a $280 million negative impact to the provincial budget over four years.

“Mr. Meili has already made billions of dollars in reckless spending promises without saying what they will cost, how he will pay for them or how he would balance the budget,” reads the statement from the government. “His risky spending plans will inevitably drive up the deficit, drive up taxes, or both.”

The email mentions that Saskatchewan’s Crown corporations are not for sale.

(Files from Drew Postey)

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