WINNIPEG -- The Manitoba Public Utilities Board (PUB) has ruled the Manitoba government should not have interfered with the setting of auto insurance rates without passing legislation and also approved a decrease to auto insurance premiums.

Earlier this year, the Pallister Government passed a regulation to increase the size of the reserve fund for Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) to $350 million, nearly doubling its size

In a Tuesday press release, the utilities board said this regulation restricted the board's ability to set the rates.

The government made the regulation to lessen the impact of unexpected rate shocks in the future, a move which the PUB said they have no jurisdiction to do.

The press release also said the Manitoba Public Utilities Board has approved a 0.6 per cent rate decrease for motor vehicle premiums.

Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) requested for the decrease in October after favourable results in September.

The rate decrease does not mean every motorist will experience a rate adjustment, but more than 600,000 Manitoba vehicles will have lower Basic auto insurance premiums. The average passenger vehicle owner will pay about $10 less in premiums per year.

Rates will still be determined based on the individual’s driving record, the registered vehicle (make and model and year), the purpose for which the vehicle is driven and the area where the policyholder lives. Policyholders’ premiums will also be impacted by actual claims experience.

The new premiums will take effect March 1, 2020 and last for 13 months.