Proposed ICBC rates aimed at punishing bad drivers, rewarding good ones

If approved, the changes will benefit an estimated two-thirds of ICBC customers

The province Thursday announced changes to ICBC’s rate structure that, it says, will benefit two-thirds of B.C. drivers.

“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,” Attorney General David Eby said in a statement. “It’s only fair.”

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In March, the province launched a public engagement campaign aimed at getting feedback on the company’s auto insurance rating system. In a statement sent out Thursday afternoon, the government said it received feedback from almost 35,000 British Columbians.

The proposed changes to ICBC’s basic insurance include, moving to a driver-based model so that at-fault crashes are tied to the driver and not the person who owns the vehicle, increasing insurance discounts for drivers with up to 40 years of driving experience (up from the current limit of nine years) and new discounts for vehicles with original, manufacturer-installed automatic emergency braking technology and for those driven less than 5,000 kilometres a year.

“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. “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. We wholeheartedly agree.”

The province is also proposing adjusting basic insurance discounts for inexperienced drivers to better reflect their risk, making at-fault crashes have a larger impact on premiums, updating rate classes and territories for the first time in more than 10 years to reflect changes in traffic density, population growth and changes to urban infrastructure.

ICBC is proposing a “transition cap” that will limit how much the premium can change annually based on customer’s driving record and at-fault crash history. Most customers will fully transition to their new basic premium within three years.

The changes must be approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission. The government has directed ICBC to file an application with the BCUC by Aug. 15. If approved the changes would come into effect in September 2019.

@JessicaEKerr

jkerr@vancourier.com

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