ICBC seeks 5.2 per cent hike in basic auto insurance rates

Distracted drivers' use of personal electronics cited as factor in injury claims rise

ICBC will send refunds totaling $38 million to customers it overcharged since 2008.

ICBC is asking regulators to approve a 5.2 per cent increase in basic auto insurance rates.

The public auto insurer said the rate hike would cost the average customer an extra $40 per year if approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission.

The rate hike is to take effect Nov. 1 on an interim basis while the BCUC reviews the application.

A previously approved 5.2 per cent rate hike that took effect in 2013-14 means drivers will soon be paying 10.4 per cent more than they did in 2012 for basic coverage.

ICBC blamed the latest increase on a continued rise in injury claims costs paid to crash victims for pain and suffering, future care and lost wages.

Bodily injury claims hit $1.9 billion in 2013, up $73 million from 2012 and by more than $500 million from five years earlier. Legal and medical costs are also up.

Drivers’ rapidly growing use of cellphones and other personal electronic devices behind the wheel is one of the factors ICBC cited for the rise in injury claims.

Distracted driving is the second leading cause of fatal car crashes in B.C. – killing 88 people a year – and is the leading cause of rear-end crashes that often cause injuries, spokesman Adam Grossman said.

A new campaign against distracted driving is to roll out in September.

Grossman was unable to provide details justifying why basic rates should be 10.4 per cent higher than 2012 when the injury claim cost increase from 2012 to 2013 was only four per cent. The full rate hike application is to be filed Friday.

Consumers Association of Canada president Bruce Cran said it continues a pattern of steeper increases in basic rates on which ICBC has a monopoly but more restraint on optional coverage rates where it must compete.

He also took aim at the provincial government’s continued raiding of ICBC coffers for general revenue.

The province has budgeted to pull $200 million from ICBC this year, $155 million next year and $125 million in 2016, down from $237 million in 2013 and $576 million in 2010.

Cran said he doesn’t “give a damn” about ICBC and government claims the yearly dividends to the province come only from the optional side and don’t affect basic rates.

“We see it a as one corporation,” he said. “As long as they’re stealing our money by the million by transferring it into government revenues, no matter which division they claim it from, we are being gouged as a public.”

Cran called it a stealth tax on people who drive vehicles that is “absolutely disgraceful.”

ICBC RATE CHANGES and GOVT DIVIDENDS | Create Infographics

Just Posted

Town council votes to reclassify LB Warner lot for residential use

Smithers just got one step closer to more affordable housing, but there are still many to go

Nisga’a leader named UNBC chancellor

Dr. Joseph Arthur Gosnell is the first Indigenous leader to assume the role

A medical first saved Ryan Jones’ life

The 25-year-old Smithers man is almost fully recovered after being effectively dead.

Steelheads recruiting event shows promise

A small but enthusiastic group of organizers is hoping to put a Smithers team back in the CIHL

Fletcher disregards facts on climate action

Letter writer Macrae says inaction jeopardizes jobs

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

Canfor curtailing operations across B.C.

Low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre are the cause of curtailment

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Haida youth travels to New York for UN forum on Indigenous issues

Haana Edensaw presented her speech in Xaad Kil, Masset dialect of the Haida language

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Most Read