Prepare to pay more for your ICBC basic insurance if you’re a “risky driver.”
Attorney General David Eby has released the findings of a public consultation in which nearly 35,000 British Columbians weighed in on how the province can make insurance rates more fair.
A vast majority of British Columbians, 82.3 per cent, believe that risky drivers should pay more.
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The provincial government is now going to consider the feedback and set new rates in June. The target is to have the new rates implemented by April 1, 2019.
“We were asking British Columbians how we should ensure that people that are higher risk drivers pay more their insurance and people who are lower risk drivers get a better discount. It is something that is done better in other provinces,” Eby said.
“Changes to our auto insurance rating system are long overdue.”
The provincial government has promised changes that will see “good drivers” pay less and “bad drivers” pay more.
The public insurer has been bleeding money, with a fiscal loss of $1.3 billion last year. The losses are due mainly to higher legal costs, higher claims for soft tissue injuries and more crashes.
ICBC has also been grappling with more instances of fraud.
The province announced earlier this year a cap on soft tissue injury payouts and the activation of all red-light cameras to 24 hours in order to increase road safety.
The consultation’s release has made more clear what the province will consider a bad driver.
The feedback the province received is that new drivers who are involved in an at-fault crash should see their rates go up by as much 20 per cent.
“The feedback was in favour of a maximum of 20 per cent in any one year,” said Eby.
“The only way that good drivers could get a disocunt is if bad drivers paid more but they did want there to be an unlimited increase on higher risk drivers.”
WATCH HERE: What will this financial loss mean for ICBC rates?
A majority of British Columbians who filled out the feedback said they would like to see a change to the system by which claims are paid back.
Currently, customers can repay vehicle damage claims and not have their premiums affected.
Eby is also strongly considering a change to a driver-based system, which means that insurance rates would be tied to drivers, rather than vehicle owners.
The province is also planning on increasing rates by 20 per cent for drivers who have received driving convictions such as the following:
- One or more driving-related Criminal Code convictions
- One or more 10-point Motor Vehicle Act convictions
- One or more excessive speeding convictions
- Two or more roadside suspensions/prohibitions
On top of that, the government has asked ICBC to bring forward 20 per cent increases to the Driver Risk Premium.
The risk premium changes could be implemented as early as fall 2018.
“While moving quickly to implement changes for dangerous driving, we are also using this feedback to inform additional changes in the coming months to help make rates more fair for drivers,” said Eby.
“This feedback will help ensure our improved auto insurance rating system is consistent with the values of British Columbians.”
Criminal lawyer Paul Doroshenko says this will likely increase the amount of drivers who attempt to fight tickets in court. But what really bothers Doroshenko about the changes is that the risk premiums are not included on the ticket, so a driver may not know about the hundreds of dollars in extra fines that could come with the infraction.
“I don’t like the fact that it is hidden and you don’t find out about it until after the period of time to dispute the ticket,” said Doroshenko. “The big squeeze is on. Now you are looking at a significant increase in the driver risk premium and another way for the government to collect revenues.”
Feedback was mixed regarding the penalty amount that owners should pay if a crash is caused by an unlisted driver.
The province is also grappling with whether driving distances should play a greater role in determining insurance rates, but the feedback on that issue was also mixed.