Changes to ICBC premiums would see bad drivers pay more

The provincial government is set to share proposed changes to auto insurance in B.C. today.					CHAD HIPOLITO  THE CANADIAN PRESS

The provincial government is set to share proposed changes to auto insurance in B.C. today. CHAD HIPOLITO THE CANADIAN PRESS

Attorney General David Eby announced today that high-crash drivers, and those who live in urban areas with a high rate of crashes could soon be paying more for their auto insurance as the ICBC reform process continues.

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

Mr. Eby said under the current model, a person could have up to three crashes in a single year and still pay the same basic premium as a driver who is crash-free. Separately, the government has also directed ICBC to move the timing of its basic insurance rate application to the BCUC from late August to December to align any rate change with the other product changes already announced.

"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".

At-fault crashes will have a larger impact on the premium a driver pays.

If approved, premiums would be calculated based on years of driving experience, number of at-fault crashes for all drivers using the vehicle, rate class (how the vehicle is used) and territory (where the driver lives), among other things. It said 17 per cent of drivers would see an increase of more than $100.

The adjustments would take effect in September 2019, although some elements will not be fully implemented until 2027.

ICBC could not say how many drivers have had three crashes in a single year.

The NDP countered with a news release saying the Liberals raided $1.2 billion from ICBC while they were in power in order to pad their own annual budgets. More than 82 per cent of its 35,000 respondents said they felt risky drivers should pay more.

"I love it. I've got a clean slate, so it's time to get rewarded", said Ernie Yee.

More than 80 per cent of British Columbians agreed to that decision during ICBC's public consultations.

"The changes will not increase the total funds that ICBC collects through basic policies, but instead will rebalance individual driver premiums and reset the way rates are determined".

"While we're happy to hear, on the surface, that good drivers will pay less and bad drivers will pay more, we want to see serious numbers here and we urge the province to open ICBC up to competition", she said.

The changes are revenue-neutral and not meant to put a dent in ICBC's forecasted $1.3 billion deficit - a situation Eby has called a "financial dumpster fire".

Sims, however, would not answer questions about how much money, if any, the CTF receives from private insurance companies that could have an interest in auto insurance being de-centralized in the province.

The proposed changes align with feedback government received from almost 35,000 British Columbians on how to make insurance fairer.

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