ICBC is seeing a steep increase in accident and injury claims. (Terry Farrell/Black Press)

ICBC moves to tighten driver discount rules

Still in red $1.3 billion, next year’s rate increase not yet known

ICBC is updating its 30-year-old rate structure to shift costs to those most at risk of accidents, including an extra charge to cover new drivers and potential savings for seniors with a long history of safe driving.

Under the proposed changes, ICBC will forgive one claim for customers with 20 years of driving experience, and no at-fault crashes in the past 10 years. Once a claim has been forgiven, the customer will need 10 more years of crash-free driving to regain the ability to have a crash forgiven without rate increase.

Owners with a learner using their vehicle will pay a premium for the additional risk, ranging from $130 to $230. Inexperienced drivers will also pay higher rates, reducing as they record years of safe driving.

The changes are to be phased in starting next year, once approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission. Rates are also to be adjusted for territories of B.C., updating the 10-year-old regional rates to account for urbanization and the increased risks for densely populated areas.

Attorney General David Eby said the current system “broken” and out of date.

“A driver with no crashes could be paying the same premium as a driver with three at-fault crashes in a year,” Eby said.

The first change B.C. drivers will notice is this fall, when previously announced increases in penalty points and serious offence convictions take effect. Those rates go up 20 per cent in September 2018 and another 20 per cent in September 2019.

ICBC estimates that up to two thirds of its customers would benefit from the changes if they were implemented today, but that does not take into account the further rate increases that may be needed.

Eby said ICBC is still expecting to report a $1.3 billion shortfall in its fiscal year that ended March 31, due to record-high crash rates, claim payouts and legal costs associated with settling claims. He was not able to estimate the general rate increases that will be needed in the years ahead to bring the corporation’s books back into the black.

RELATED: ICBC rates went up 6.4% in September 2017

RELATED: ICBC to cap pain and suffering payouts at $5,500

Currently the safe driver discount reaches its maximum after nine years of crash-free driving. When the new system takes effect, crash-free drivers continue to accumulate discount for up to 40 years.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilksinson said the Crown corporation’s performance does not stack up well against private insurance.

“When we look across North America we see that most other jurisdictions operate without a government-run insurance system, but do operate under very similar driving laws as British Columbia,” Wilkinson said. “Strangely, those motorists are not facing a system that unfairly labels most of them as ‘bad drivers’ and forces them to pay very high insurance rates.”

Just Posted

Sk’aadgaa Naay slips in Fraser Institute elementary school rankings

The school stayed at a rating of 5, but slipped to 694th rank in 2017/18

B.C. First Nations’ intake of essential nutrients to drop by 31 per cent: study

Professors project the nutrient decrease by 2050 if climate change mitigation continues as is

B.C. minister says rural internet is ‘railroad of the 21st century’

Jinny Sims talks details about the $50-million provincial and possible $750-million federal funds

Arts funding for Haida Gwaii and Rupert societies

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice announced $320,643 in funding from the BC Arts Council Grant

North Coast social worker advocated for behaviour analysis service

Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert received the new service last year

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

Minor injury cap, court restrictions take effect April 1 in B.C.

B.C., feds accused of ‘environmental racism’ over Site C, Mount Polley

Amnesty International Canada says governments failed to recognize threats to Indigenous peoples

New Leger polls suggests federal Liberals lagging Conservatives

Overall, 31 per cent of respondents polled said they would vote for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

Number of homeless deaths more than doubled in B.C. as opioid crisis set in

New data shows trend between more overdose deaths and the number of people dying in the street

Four people spat on in ‘random, unprovoked’ assaults: Vancouver police

Police ask additional victims to come forward after woman in a wheelchair spat on

Most Read