ICBC is seeing a steep increase in accident and injury claims. (Terry Farrell/Black Press)

ICBC moves to tighten driver discount rules

Still in red $1.3 billion, next year’s rate increase not yet known

ICBC is updating its 30-year-old rate structure to shift costs to those most at risk of accidents, including an extra charge to cover new drivers and potential savings for seniors with a long history of safe driving.

Under the proposed changes, ICBC will forgive one claim for customers with 20 years of driving experience, and no at-fault crashes in the past 10 years. Once a claim has been forgiven, the customer will need 10 more years of crash-free driving to regain the ability to have a crash forgiven without rate increase.

Owners with a learner using their vehicle will pay a premium for the additional risk, ranging from $130 to $230. Inexperienced drivers will also pay higher rates, reducing as they record years of safe driving.

The changes are to be phased in starting next year, once approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission. Rates are also to be adjusted for territories of B.C., updating the 10-year-old regional rates to account for urbanization and the increased risks for densely populated areas.

Attorney General David Eby said the current system “broken” and out of date.

“A driver with no crashes could be paying the same premium as a driver with three at-fault crashes in a year,” Eby said.

The first change B.C. drivers will notice is this fall, when previously announced increases in penalty points and serious offence convictions take effect. Those rates go up 20 per cent in September 2018 and another 20 per cent in September 2019.

ICBC estimates that up to two thirds of its customers would benefit from the changes if they were implemented today, but that does not take into account the further rate increases that may be needed.

Eby said ICBC is still expecting to report a $1.3 billion shortfall in its fiscal year that ended March 31, due to record-high crash rates, claim payouts and legal costs associated with settling claims. He was not able to estimate the general rate increases that will be needed in the years ahead to bring the corporation’s books back into the black.

RELATED: ICBC rates went up 6.4% in September 2017

RELATED: ICBC to cap pain and suffering payouts at $5,500

Currently the safe driver discount reaches its maximum after nine years of crash-free driving. When the new system takes effect, crash-free drivers continue to accumulate discount for up to 40 years.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilksinson said the Crown corporation’s performance does not stack up well against private insurance.

“When we look across North America we see that most other jurisdictions operate without a government-run insurance system, but do operate under very similar driving laws as British Columbia,” Wilkinson said. “Strangely, those motorists are not facing a system that unfairly labels most of them as ‘bad drivers’ and forces them to pay very high insurance rates.”

Just Posted

District of Ucluelet and Yuułuʔiłʔath First Nation announce fire protection agreement

“It’s a fantastic start about helping our neighbours.”

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Regulator’s report, coming today, unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

Most Read