WINNIPEG -- Manitoba Public Insurance is giving back up to $110 million in order to provide financial relief to its policy holders.

Crown Services Minister Jeff Wharton made the announcement at a news conference on Wednesday.

“This surplus is a result of fewer claims during the COVID period, coupled with strong year-end financial results,” he said.

“MPI will be issuing rebate cheques to Manitoba ratepayers at the end of May or early June.”

Wharton said under existing legislation MPI can immediately return $50 million, but will require approval from the Public Utilities Board (PUB) for the additional $60 million. The Crown corporation will apply to the PUB in the coming days.

“With Public Utilities Board approval in the next few weeks, the entire $110 million will be returned as part of the rebate cheques mailed to all Manitobans,” he said.

“This will return money to Manitobans at a time when it is needed most.”

Rebates will be based on what policy holders paid in 2019 and are expected to be around 11 per cent, or about $140 to $160, for the average policy holder.

Wharton said MPI is confident, based on current projections, that the extension of public health orders and the provincial state of emergency until May 18 will result into direct saving for the Crown corporation into the foreseeable future.

“With a healthy reserve fund, MPI is in a strong financial situation to move forward with these rebate cheques to support their customers,” the minister said, noting this will not adversely impact MPI’s financial outcomes.

More details on the rebates will become available in the coming weeks and information can be found on the MPI website.