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.”

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Thursday’s blackout likely caused by vandalism

Power was out for 10,000 customers from Quick to the Hazeltons for almost 11 hours

VIDEO: Witset cannabis shop officially opens

The store, located at the gas bar on Hwy 16, is open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Police investigate July 2 homicide in Houston

Man succumbed to injuries at Pearson Road residence

Tahltan fighter from Telkwa wins provincial award

Lando Ball recognized for his commitment to and accomplishments in karate and for community service

RCMP patrol of smokehouse sparks concerns by Wet’suwet’en hereditary leader

Hereditary Chief Woos says he is feeling uneasy after RCMP attended the smokehouse with rifles

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Budget officer pegs cost of basic income as calls for it grow due to COVID-19

Planned federal spending to date on pandemic-related aid now tops about $174 billion

Most Read