Smithers council has agreed to back a resolution by former Telkwa mayor Darcy Repen to have the B.C. government review ICBC’s rate design.
Repen has long argued that the current rate design unfairly amounts to northern and rural rate payers subsidizing those in B.C.’s largest urban centres.
Using ICBC’s own data, he found policy holders in the Lower Mainland were spending $1.35 in premiums for every dollar they were being paid in claims. For rural motorists in general the ratio was $1.84:$1, for northerners in general $1.96:$1 and for V0J (including Smithers, Telkwa and the Hazeltons and everything north to Telegraph Creek and east to Vanderhoof it was $2.15:$1.
Repen brought his concerns to the B.C. Utilities Commission’s (BCUC) latest round of deliberations on a proposed decrease in basic insurance rates. He maintains that while a across the board reduction in rates is welcome, it does not address the rate inequity faced by northern motorists.
BCUC acknowledged the argument, but said it did not have the authority to address or change ICBC’s rate design, punting the issue back to the NDP government.
Not to be deterred, Repen drafted a resolution for the next plenary session of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.
At council’s Nov. 9 meeting, he presented a draft resolution, which reads:
WHEREAS ICBC and the Government of British Columbia have perpetuated inequitable regional Basic Insurance coverage value beginning in 2001 or earlier;
AND WHEREAS the Government of British Columbia, through Order in Council 458/18, directed the B.C. Utilities Commission to approve an ICBC Basic Insurance rate design;
AND WHEREAS the 2018 Basic Insurance Rate Design acknowledges but does not immediately correct the inequity:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that UBCM request that a new ICBC Basic Insurance Rate Design be developed immediately that conclusively corrects the regional inequity:
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that UBCM request that ICBC and the B.C. Government explore opportunities for regional redress such as elimination of windshield deductibles, winter tire subsidies and regional variation in low-use discounts.
At its Nov. 23 meeting, Smithers council unanimously voted to sponsor the resolution.
Repen is currently seeking other local governments to also back the resolution.