The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is set to file for the largest reduction in basic insurance rates in the province’s history.
ICBC is asking the B.C. Utilities Commission to approve a 15-per-cent rate decrease as the province transitions to a no-fault insurance model on May 1, 2021.
The B.C. government has promised a 20-per-cent decrease in overall car insurance rates.
The Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia has argued the switch to no-fault insurance will greatly diminish people’s right to a fair financial settlement.
Benefits for drivers will change dramatically with the new model: Customers will have up to $7.5 million in medical and rehabilitation benefits compared to $300,000 under the current system.
An injured driver will be able to sue if they are involved in a crash with someone charged with a criminal offence or if either a manufacturer or repair facility is found to have done faulty work.
Customers will be able to use the beefed-up Civil Resolution Tribunal as well, and can challenge decisions if there are concerns about the outcome.
When the no-fault model takes effect, millions of drivers will be owed a one-time, prorated refund of the difference between their current coverage and the new coverage.
For example, a customer who renewed their annual insurance policy on Nov. 1, 2020, would have an expiry date of Oct. 31, 2021.
After the new coverage comes into effect in May, this customer will get a prorated refund for the difference between their existing rate and the new, lower rate.
“ICBC is committed to more affordable insurance premiums and rate stability for British Columbians now and into the future,” ICBC CEO Nicolas Jimenez said.
“The vast majority of British Columbians can expect to start seeing significant savings on their auto insurance in 2021, in addition to (no-fault model) refunds.”