ICBC president and CEO Nicolas Jimenez. (Black Press File photo)

ICBC president and CEO Nicolas Jimenez. (Black Press File photo)

Councillor expresses disappointment with ICBC explanation for rate disparity

The Town voted unanimously to send a letter to ICBC asking a number of questions

One Smithers councillor feels the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) isn’t doing enough when it comes to answering for a number of questions on disparity between rural and urban insurance premiums.

At their Mar. 10 meeting council voted unanimously to forward a letter from Telkwa resident Darcy Repen to ICBC.

In the letter Repen expressed his disappointment with how the Feb. 11 delegation between ICBC CEO Nicolas Jimenez and council transpired.

“Council also stated that it understood the questions I was seeking answers to, and that it would ask the questions directly when the [ICBC] appeared as a delegation to Council,” the letter said.

“On Feb.11, 2020 during the CEO’s delegation, Smithers Council decided not to ask the questions and request answers.”

As a result of his lack of satisfaction from the meeting, Repen asked council write a letter to Attorney General David Eby, Minister of Rural Affairs and Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson and Jimenez asking a number of questions related to the disparity between rural and urban premiums in the Province.

READ MORE: Repen: FOI data proves Telkwans being ripped off by ICBC

Not to be confused with the above letter, council also had a letter in the correspondence portion of their agenda for the meeting from Eby related to council’s meeting with the Attorney General at the 2019 Union of BC Municipalities’ conference in Vancouver.

In his letter Eby noted the issue of auto insurnace rates is an important issue to people in the Bulkley Valley and pointed to a number of initiatives ICBC has rolled out, including rate readjustments that better reflect risk and a territorial factor reduction over the next ten years.

“I agree that the readjustment of premiums will take longer than is preferred, given the complexity of its application, but I have requested that ICBC move as quickly as possible,” said Eby.

But for at least one councillor, this answer seemed to be lacking.

“Conspicuously absent from that letter is a follow up on the promise for not Mr. Jimenez to come but actually Minister Eby,” said Wray.

The councillor added that while he didn’t always see 100 per cent eye-to-eye with Repen with regard to the situation but agreed he felt many of Jimenez’s answers were insufficient, especially regarding rate inequality.

“The answer I heard from Mr. Jimenez was, not in so many words, [that] we’re trying to fix ICBC and we don’t really care to fix this problem at the time,” he said.

“To me, that’s not an acceptable answer. Our citizens own ICBC, as well as the citizens down south and I don’t really think that we should be subsidizing to this extent.”

Repen began a massive freedom-of-information campaign into differences in premium and claims costs across the Province back in 2019. The results of those requests he has received so far (Repen’s campaign is currently ongoing) have shown large differences between the amounts of premiums paid by residents versus the amount the receive back in claims from the Crown corporation.

For example, according to the FOI data, over the last five years, V0J 2X0 residents paid a little over $5.5 million more in total ICBC premiums than they received in total claims.

When The Interior News spoke to Repen following Jimenez’s delegation to council, he likened the ICBC CEO’s interaction with council to “jedi mind tricks”, saying he was amazed council didn’t push him harder on the important questions.

“Everybody forgot why he was actually there,” said Repen. “He wasn’t there to give a presentation … he was supposed to be there to answer the question about disparity in rural and urban rates and specifically the numbers in the FOI.”
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Smithers council

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

(BC Hydro photo)
BC Hydro planned power outages to darken downtown Smithers for most of day Sunday, Jan 17

Replacement of poles will affect approximately 250 customers in downtown core from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Smithers Local Health Area reported 25 new cases of COVID-19 Jan. 3 - 9. (BC CDC graphic)
Weekly new cases of COVID-19 rise to 25 in Smithers LHA Jan. 3 – 9

Northern Health reported 49 new daily cases for 497 active, 44 hospitalized, 13 in critical care

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to grim record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)
B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

Auditor finds nearly half of bridges overdue for repair

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Vancouver Island paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Cumberland photographer Sara Kemper recently took the top spot in a Canadian Geographic photography contest. Photo by Sara Kemper
B.C. photographer takes top Canadian Geographic photo prize

Sara Kemper shows what home means to her in Comox Valley photo

Most Read