ICBC is seeing a steep increase in accident and injury claims. (Terry Farrell/Black Press)

ICBC moves to tighten driver discount rules

Still in red $1.3 billion, next year’s rate increase not yet known

ICBC is updating its 30-year-old rate structure to shift costs to those most at risk of accidents, including an extra charge to cover new drivers and potential savings for seniors with a long history of safe driving.

Under the proposed changes, ICBC will forgive one claim for customers with 20 years of driving experience, and no at-fault crashes in the past 10 years. Once a claim has been forgiven, the customer will need 10 more years of crash-free driving to regain the ability to have a crash forgiven without rate increase.

Owners with a learner using their vehicle will pay a premium for the additional risk, ranging from $130 to $230. Inexperienced drivers will also pay higher rates, reducing as they record years of safe driving.

The changes are to be phased in starting next year, once approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission. Rates are also to be adjusted for territories of B.C., updating the 10-year-old regional rates to account for urbanization and the increased risks for densely populated areas.

Attorney General David Eby said the current system “broken” and out of date.

“A driver with no crashes could be paying the same premium as a driver with three at-fault crashes in a year,” Eby said.

The first change B.C. drivers will notice is this fall, when previously announced increases in penalty points and serious offence convictions take effect. Those rates go up 20 per cent in September 2018 and another 20 per cent in September 2019.

ICBC estimates that up to two thirds of its customers would benefit from the changes if they were implemented today, but that does not take into account the further rate increases that may be needed.

Eby said ICBC is still expecting to report a $1.3 billion shortfall in its fiscal year that ended March 31, due to record-high crash rates, claim payouts and legal costs associated with settling claims. He was not able to estimate the general rate increases that will be needed in the years ahead to bring the corporation’s books back into the black.

RELATED: ICBC rates went up 6.4% in September 2017

RELATED: ICBC to cap pain and suffering payouts at $5,500

Currently the safe driver discount reaches its maximum after nine years of crash-free driving. When the new system takes effect, crash-free drivers continue to accumulate discount for up to 40 years.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilksinson said the Crown corporation’s performance does not stack up well against private insurance.

“When we look across North America we see that most other jurisdictions operate without a government-run insurance system, but do operate under very similar driving laws as British Columbia,” Wilkinson said. “Strangely, those motorists are not facing a system that unfairly labels most of them as ‘bad drivers’ and forces them to pay very high insurance rates.”

Just Posted

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

B.C. to move salmon farms out of coastal migration route

Broughton Archipelago plan set to start in spring of 2019

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

Mount Washington opening for winter season this weekend

The resort’s original opening day was delayed due to lack of snow

VIDEO: ‘I won’t stop’ – local surfer hits the stormy seas of Stories Beach in Campbell River

Surfing community is growing in Campbell River, says Scotty Hewett

Woman guilty of impaired driving in death of Vancouver Island pedestrian

Man in his 70s killed in 2016 Courtenay multi-vehicle incident

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Mike Duffy can’t sue Senate over suspension without pay, judge rules

Duffy’s lawsuit sought more than $7.8 million from the upper chamber

Language on Sikh extremism in report will be reviewed, Goodale says

A public-safety ministry document indicats terrorist threats to Canada included a section on Sikh extremism for the first time

Questions raised over retailers who shame shoplifters with photos

Alleged theft from a sex shop in Newfoundland led to posts on social media

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

Most Read