Monday, 20 August, 2018

BC government announces changes to how ICBC will calculate premiums

David Eby expected to announce changes to ICBC rates Changes to ICBC auto insurance to be announced today
Russell Knight | 12 August, 2018, 04:13

Attorney General David Eby said about two-thirds of drivers would see a decrease in their premiums under the new rules. "When British Columbians were asked for their feedback on this topic, one message came out loud and clear, lower-risk drivers shouldn't be paying the same as some high-risk drivers".

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.

Similarly, at-fault accidents will have a larger impact on a driver's premiums than they now do, but one at-fault crash will continue to be forgiven over a period of 10 years.

Most customers are expected to transition to their new basic premium within three years.

"The changes we are proposing are the most significant updates to how ICBC's basic insurance premiums are set in more than 30 years", said ICBC board chair Joy MacPhail.

ICBC would still offer discounts to inexperienced drivers, but those discounts would be reduced to better reflect the "risk" that those drivers represent, the province said.

The current model to calculate rates used by the Insurance Corporation of B.C.is "broken", he said. "A driver with no crashes could be paying the same premium as a driver with three at-fault crashes in a year".

Eby says the new model will include discounts for drivers with up to 40 years of driving experience, up from the current limit of nine years, discounts for vehicles with original, manufacturer-installed automatic emergency braking technology and for vehicles driven less than 5,000 kilometres per year. "It's time for a complete re-work of the auto insurance framework in B.C., and the NDP is not delivering".

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If the proposed changes are approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission, they would come into effect in September 2019.

During the announcement, he said 39 per cent of B.C. motorists will see reductions of up to $50 a year, while 13 per cent will save between $50 and $100.

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. Fifteen per cent of drivers will see more than $100 in savings.

ICBC is now facing a deficit of $1.3 billion.

"British Columbians have told us they expect the premiums they pay to be fair", he said.

Major changes are being proposed for ICBC as the crown corporation, once described by the Attorney General as a "dumpster fire", struggles to get out of the red.

In February, Eby introduced legislation to impose limits on soft-tissue injury payouts from vehicle accident claims that could save enough to cover soaring costs that led to the public insurer losing $1.3 billion in the last fiscal year.

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