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A long-awaited change to ICBC's rate structure is on the horizon

It looks like tens of thousands of drivers in B.C. could soon get their wish.

ICBC’s current rate structure, which is more than 30 years old, could finally be seeing some upgrades.

According to B.C.’s attorney general, David Eby, ICBC will soon submit a proposal to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) that aims to level the playing field.

The provincial government has been directed ICBC to submit that application by Aug. 15.

"We want to modernize ICBC so that British Columbians pay according to their crash history, driving records and level of risk, and take responsibility for their driving habits. It's only fair," said Eby.

"Right now, the system is broken. A driver with no crashes could be paying the same premium as a driver with three at-fault crashes in a year.”

The proposed changes are based on feedback received from nearly 35,000 British Columbians on how insurance could be made fairer, and they include:

  • Moving to a driver-based model, so that at-fault crashes are tied to the driver and not the person who owns the vehicle;
  • Increasing insurance discounts for drivers with up to 40 years of driving experience, up from the current limit of nine years; and,
  • New discounts available for vehicles with original, manufacturer-installed automatic emergency braking technology and for vehicles driven less than 5,000 kilometres per year.

<who>Photo Credit: ICBC

If approved by the BCUC, these changes would benefit around two-thirds of ICBC’s customers and not chance the total funds that ICBC collects through basic policies.

Instead, it will rebalance individual driver premiums and reset the way rates are determined.

"The changes we are proposing are the most significant updates to how ICBC's basic insurance premiums are set in more than 30 years," said Joy MacPhail, ICBC's board chair.

"When British Columbians were asked for their feedback on this topic, one message came out loud and clear - lower-risk drivers shouldn't be paying the same as some high-risk drivers. We wholeheartedly agree."

<who>Photo Credit: Flickr/ICBC

Other proposed changes include:

  • Basic insurance discounts for inexperienced drivers will be adjusted to better reflect their risk;
  • At-fault crashes will have a larger impact on the premium a driver pays;
  • Rate classes and territories data will be updated for the first time in more than 10 years to reflect significant changes in traffic density, population growth and changes in the urban infrastructure; and,
  • An increase to the Driver Penalty Point (DPP) and Driver Risk Premium (DRP) programs of 20% in fall 2018 and 20% in fall 2019, as previously announced.

ICBC will propose a “transition cap” to go with these potential changes, limiting the amount a driver’s premium can change annually.

For most drivers, they’d fully transition to their new basic premium within three years.

If the application to the BCUC is approved, these changes would come into effect in September 2019.

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