14 Dec ICBC regional rate increases
A recent article by CBC highlighted the increased financial pressures felt by ICBC customers.
Darcy Repen, the mayor of the small village of Telkwa in northern British Columbia, plans to file a complaint with B.C.’s Human Rights Tribunal over the unfair rates the community’s residents have to pay to ICBC for vehicle insurance.
ICBC’s insurance rates are partially determined by what region those rate payers live in. As a result of ICBC’s partition of ‘rate territories’ residents of Telkwa have to pay more for insurance than those of neighboring Smithers, BC which is only 15 km away. ICBC’s calculation of Telkwa’s rates are based on the statistical data of Prince George, located over 350 km away.
Mayor Repen states that this increased insurance rate is unfair and penalizing Telkwa residents for being in the same region as Prince George, which has more traffic and more accidents than the tiny 1,400 resident village. According to Mayor Repen residents of Telkwa could be paying hundreds of dollars more in insurance than the other communities in their area, and that this increase is “substantial when we consider the other stresses that people are under in terms of the fees that they’re paying and the taxation”.
This is just one more revelation of the increasing burden ICBC is placing on rate payers. After raising insurance rates by 5.5% in 2015, ICBC announced another rate increase of 4.9% for 2016. This rate increase, which took effect on November 1, 2016, is in addition to the government’s decision to forgo collecting $160 million in dividends from the corporation in order to keep the increase to a minimum.
The government monopoly insurer blamed “external pressures” such as fraudulent activity and increased costs for the increase in rates. However, Adrian Dix opposition NDP critic for ICBC , believes that the increase in rates is likely due to ICBC adopting a ‘reckless, antagonistic litigious strategy that is fundamentally damaging to their customers’ and which has seen an increase of 40% in represented injury claims over the last decade.
It is clear that action must be taken soon to prevent the increasing burden of insurance rates on those who have no other option but to deal with ICBC.