Even after massive changes at ICBC, British Columbians are still paying more for car insurance than Albertans, according to a new report.
A study conducted by MNP on behalf of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, a group advocating for private insurance companies, found British Columbians are paying up to 42 per cent more for insurance compared to Alberta drivers.
“This report is just the latest example of the cost of ICBC’s monopoly and is more evidence that drivers need the options to shop around and it’s an option they have on the other side of the Rockies,” Aaron Sutherland, IBC vice-president, Pacific, said.
“The big difference between Alberta and B.C. is who you are buying your insurance from. In Alberta you have a choice. Here you have to buy from ICBC’s monopoly.”
WATCH (aired October 2, 2019): More outrage over ICBC rates for young drivers
But the B.C. government doesn’t buy the new report.
“It is really hard to compare us to Alberta because you get six times the benefits in B.C. as you do in Alberta,” Attorney General David Eby said.
“But even when we are compared on an apples-and-apples basis by other provinces we come out ahead of Ontario and Alberta. These reports are frustrating to me.”
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The study looks at quotes for 14 different drivers in B.C. and Alberta. In all the examples, except for one, the quote is higher in B.C.
For example, a new driver in Calgary with two years of experience and commuting to school will pay $3,491 to insure her 2008 Honda Civic LX compared to $4,319 a year in Burnaby.
For a family of three, with a 24-year-old female driver, the costs to insure a 2012 Honda Accord for work commuting purposes is $2,398 a year in Edmonton compared to $2,540 in Richmond.
“The situation in Alberta isn’t perfect but even with the rate increases, drivers there are still paying a heck of a lot less,” Sutherland said.
“The province is really trying and kudos to them but the biggest solution is letting drivers shop around.”
The Alberta government removed limits on rate increases last August. Since that time companies in that province have applied for – and received – rate increases averaging 10.5 per cent. These increases, which are for policies effective in January 2020, are included in the quotes MNP used in their analysis.
But the study does not include recent rate increases granted by the Automobile Insurance Rate Board that will see some companies boost rates by almost 30 per cent for basic coverage on private passenger vehicles.
WATCH (aired March 30, 2019): ICBC CEO explains new rate hikes and the impact on B.C. drivers
“I think you can find rates in Alberta that are cheaper than B.C. but they give you less insurance. We have a minimum amount of insurance that is six times the minimum in Alberta,” Eby said.
“You can find coverage that is cheaper in Alberta but you are hoping you are not in a crash where you have to rely on those benefits.”
In 2002, the BC Liberals reviewed ICBC and determined it would be more expensive to move to privatization.
The province has also reviewed a report done by the private insurance industry showing privatization in B.C. would hurt younger drivers.
“We know that when the private insurance industry did a report about how much they would charge for insurance here in B.C, they said that literally every driver under the age of 35 would see a significant increase and some of those drivers would see an increase of 37 per cent.”