BC government announces proposed changes to ICBC rates

1:46pm


B.C. Attorney General David Eby Image Credit Canadian Press

The province and ICBC are proposing big changes to the way insurance premiums are determined.

Should the application be approved, changes would come into effect by September of 2019.

The current model to calculate rates used by the Insurance Corporation of B.C.is "broken", he said.

"We want to modernize ICBC so that British Columbians pay according to their crash history, driving records and level of risk, and take responsibility for their driving habits".

Almost 40 per cent of drivers would see up to a $50 reduction in their annual premiums, while 15 per cent would see more than a $100 reduction, the province said, adding that just over 10 per cent would see an up to $50 increase and 17 per cent would see their rates hiked more than $100.

It's unclear, however, exactly why those living further east tend to receive more money from ICBC-whether it's because more people are driving, drivers are spending more time on the road or the routes they take are more unsafe depending on where they live.

Eby has called the insurance corporation a "financial dumpster fire" with ICBC losing more than $1 billion a year ago alone. "It's only fair", said Eby.

One key change is that B.C. would move to a driver-based model from a vehicle-based insurance, so at-fault crashes are tied to the driver and not the auto owner. It is built around ensuring the vehicle rather than the driver and allows discounts to drivers despite multiple crashes.

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At-fault crashes will have a larger impact on the premium a driver pays. But crashes caused by the learner before they get their licence won't be counted in their driving history.

Basic insurance discounts for inexperienced drivers will be adjusted to better reflect their risk.

Moving to a driver-based model.

The corporation would consider at-fault crashes that happened over the past 10 years - up from three - to help determine a driver's premium.

About two-thirds of drivers will see a decrease in the amount they pay under the changes announced on Thursday and one-third will see an increase, Eby added. Five per cent of those deemed at an increased risk of causing a crash will pay between $50 and $100 more while 17 per cent will see their premiums rise by at least $100. More than 82 per cent of its 35,000 respondents said they felt risky drivers should pay more. She said B.C. drivers need to have a choice in auto insurance and a chance to actually save money.

The changes are meant to "modernize" how the Insurance Corporation of B.C. calculates insurance premiums.

BC Official Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson said on Thursday he is disappointed to learn the NDP government won't be doing much of anything to fix the major problems facing ICBC.

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