Manitoba's Public Utilities Board has approved a smaller-than-requested increase in auto insurance rates and issued a warning to the government agency that has a monopoly.

The board has approved an overall rate increase of 0.9 per cent for Manitoba Public Insurance for next year, effective March 1.

That's half as much as MPI requested.

The board says it has "'significant concerns" about MPI's operating expenses, and has asked for a detailed review of staffing levels and other information by the end of next year.

While the overall rate is climbing by 0.9 per cent, the board says that amount varies between categories.

The board says 43 per cent of vehicles will see lower insurance rates.