An ICBC claims office. After sending a June 26 letter to ICBC expressing concern about the cost of auto insurance for people in the area, Smithers Town Council has received a response from Attorney General David Eby. (File photo) An ICBC claims office. After sending a June 26 letter to ICBC expressing concern about the cost of auto insurance for people in the area, Smithers Town Council has received a response from Attorney General David Eby. (File photo)

Town receives response on rural ICBC premiums from Attorney General

The Town has still not received a response to their UBCM meetings with ICBC

After sending a June 26 letter to ICBC expressing concern about the cost of auto insurance for people in the area, Smithers Town Council has received a response.

At their Oct. 22 meeting, one of the correspondence items listed on the agenda was a response from Attorney General David Eby dated Oct. 8, 2019.

READ MORE: ICBC improving, but not yet out of the red, B.C. minister says

The letter began, as responses to The Interior News from ICBC have in the past, by acknowledging a Sept. 1 overhaul of how the Crown corporation sets its insurance premiums for individuals.

“A comprehensive examination of territory rates and boundaries is also a very large undertaking, requiring careful and thoughtful analysis, followed by regulatory approval.

“I can tell you that ICBC is updating rate class and territory factors within the existing boundaries. The revised territory rate, which came into effect on September 1, 2019, means that Smithers residents will see the territory component of their premiums drop by 4.1 per cent in the first year with further reductions expected in the future.”

The letter ended by saying the amount of premiums collected and total of claims paid out by a community are not accurate representations of how insurance premiums are determined.

It did, however, acknowledge territory is a factor in premium rates.

“Current premiums are based on expected claims costs and take into account a number of factors that include, but are not limited to, territory.”

Discussing the letter at the end of the meeting acting mayor Frank Wray said the Town has still not received a response to any of the ministerial meetings they had with ICBC at the 2019 Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Annual Convention.

“I think we can still expect a further response,” Wray said.

He also noted a commitment from ICBC from those ministerial talks emerged to send someone to to speak to council regarding the rate premiums.

He said since the initial meetings he has further reviewed the issue.

“Actually since then I’ve had some more thoughts about perhaps why this isn’t fair to rural residents.

“It seems to me they’re happy to fix some things that are wrong very quickly … but they don’t seem to want to fix the urban-rural imbalance, so I think that’s something we’ll be able to question them on when they come.”

The initial letter sent to ICBC and Eby, as well as many of the subjects brought up during the ministerial talks, were the indirect result of a freedom of information (FOI) request by former Telkwa mayor Darcy Repen and subsequent requests from residents for specific rural and urban postal codes.

The raw figures from those requests show that, between 2014-2018, nine rural postal codes analyzed paid just over 2.5 times more in premiums than they received back in claims.

Repen has previously told The Interior News he sees ICBC’s reiteration of their territorial rate changes to Council as an implicit admission that those living in rural areas are paying disproportionately high insurance rates.

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

He also believes if the Crown corporation does send people up north, they should be ready to answer some tough questions.

“If ICBC is sending people up I hope they send them up with some explanation of why, you know, the V6B postal code in Vancouver is being subsidized by 30 million dollars a year and meanwhile Smithers and Telkwa are paying exponentially more than what we are receiving in claims payouts.

“I think it’s time to get past the well-rehearsed and rehashed ICBC mantra of ‘we’re going through big changes and location isn’t the most important thing’ and for them to sit down and to actually provide an analysis that shows why the data that we provided isn’t reflective of what’s actually going on.”



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Witset chosen for housing innovation funding program

Proposal to build healing lodge for at-risk youth one of four selected in B.C.

Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and hereditary chiefs agree to future meeting

Scott Fraser was in Smithers on Jan. 22 and spoke with Office of the Wet’suwet’en representatives

Unist’ot’en Camp say RCMP have changed 27 kilometre roadblock rules

Footage shows RCMP telling an unidentified lawyer they can’t re-enter the checkpoint

B.C. Indigenous communities receive funding for hands-on trades training

Nuxalk, Witset, Penticton Indian Band, TRU Williams Lake, and Camosun College among beneficiaries

Telkwa bridge struck by empty logging truck

The truck hit the bridge on its east side and appears to have damaged a wooden beam

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Coastal GasLink work camp in Vanderhoof gets approved by the ALC

The work camp behind the Vanderhoof airport was first rejected by the commission in October last year

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

B.C.’s oldest practising lawyer celebrates 100th birthday, shares advice

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

UPDATED: Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Most Read