ICBC rejects Telkwa’s plea for fairness

Telkwa’s mayor said the Village will continue to advocate for adjusting the territory boundaries.

Telkwa Mayor Darcy Repen wasn’t pleased with the response he got from ICBC about changing the rate territory dividing line.

Last month Repen wrote a letter to ICBC asking the company to move the dividing line between rate territories so that Telkwa will be a part of Smithers catchment area. Currently, Telkwa residents pay insurance rates for the Prince George territory. As a result of higher accident rates in Prince George, village residents pay a higher premium than people residing in Smithers and other communities west of Telkwa.

Repen wrote in his letter Telkwa residents predominately drive in Smithers or on the highway between Smithers and Telkwa. That along with the village’s proximity to Smithers (13 km) as opposed to Prince George (355.7 km) is why Repen argues the dividing line should be moved.

ICBC rejected Repen’s request but said they will look into “re-balancing territory costs to help improve rate fairness.”

“Anybody that’s followed government, or responses from government, knows that is the greatest lip service there can be. They’re not going to look into it; they’re not going to do anything unless they’re forced to do it,” Repen said. “I think people would hope that their government aspires to do better and that response seems to fairly clearly say ‘we have no interest in trying to do better, it’s too much work.’ ”

ICBC senior communication specialist Joanna Linsangan said where a driver lives is only one factor in determining their insurance rate. How the vehicle is used, driving history and the type of coverage a purchased also dictate the premium.

“In addition to the product changes announced in February, we are also reviewing the feedback we received from the public survey on rate fairness conducted earlier this spring,” Linsangan said. “While ICBC is not looking at redrawing territory boundaries, we are looking to make adjustments to recognize the changes in traffic density, population growth and urban infrastructure within the current territories.”

Repen said the Village will continue to advocate for adjusting the territory boundaries.

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