ICBC and insurance brokers launch task force for online auto insurance renewals

Click to play video 'Global Exclusive: ICBC exploring online renewals' Global Exclusive: ICBC exploring online renewals
Global News has learned that ICBC will explore online renewals. But as Richard Zussman reports, critics say the corporation might make it even more difficult to renew.

ICBC has set the wheels in motion for online renewals for auto insurance.

Global News has learned ICBC and the Insurance Brokers of B.C. have launched a task force and met this week with plans to put together a report for Attorney General David Eby.

The task force’s job will be to determine what the online system will look like, how much it may save drivers, and what types of car insurance can be renewed online.

READ MORE: B.C. attorney general ‘nervous’ about setting specific date for online ICBC renewals

“The criteria we are looking at is what makes a simple transaction, a simple renewal something a customer can do from their home, on their laptop, on their phone without getting into the risks of making the wrong decision,” Chuck Byrne, executive director of the Insurance Brokers of B.C.,  said.

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“I think the complexity of the transaction can’t be ignored. This is not like ordering on Amazon.”

Byrne says the task force is expected to recommend a phased approach for online renewals. It would include simpler transactions at first and then move to more complex transactions. The task force is not looking to get rid of the broker system, rather it would use brokers as a way to provide oversight.

Click to play video 'Online auto insurance purchasing coming to B.C.?' Online auto insurance purchasing coming to B.C.?
Online auto insurance purchasing coming to B.C.?

The Insurance Brokers of B.C. says about half of all broker transactions are renewals.

In the 2016/17 fiscal year, which was 15 months long due to fiscal calendar transition, brokers were paid $510 million by ICBC. In 2017/18 brokers were paid $434 million and last fiscal year the bill was $490 million.

READ MORE: B.C. government axing lawyer, legal costs to create no-fault style insurance at ICBC

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Brokers are paid a fixed fee for basic insurance and paid a percentage for optional insurance renewals and purchase.

The provincial government is in the midst of a complete overhaul at ICBC. Attorney General David Eby says the priority now is to ensure people understand the changes coming into place.

The no-fault style system will also make the insurance purchase process simpler because of the enhanced care model. All drivers receive additional benefits while getting insurance rather than having to go to court to earn settlements after a possible injury.

Click to play video 'ICBC pays brokers millions for rate changeover' ICBC pays brokers millions for rate changeover
ICBC pays brokers millions for rate changeover

Eby says he expects to hear back from the task force this year and would like to implement legislation in the fall if changes are needed to allow for online renewals.

“We know from the experience from other jurisdictions that not everyone wants to renew online,” Eby said.

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“I definitely think there are savings for some people to go online. The challenge is I have heard people say we should get rid of the broker system but ICBC would have to staff up quite significantly to do that.”