(ItkasanImages / Victoria Buzz)

ICBC is seeking a 4.9 per cent increase to basic insurance rate, if approved, this will mean an average increase of $3.50 per month for basic insurance coverage.

Customers who buy optional, extended third-party liability, plus collision or comprehensive, should expect to pay an additional $5 per month, if the utilities commission approves the application.

The corporation has submitted its application to the B.C. Utilities Commission, with interim approval expected in early September, covering rates effective Nov. 1.

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The rate hike is due to an increase in the number of crashes, claims being submitted, and the cost of settling those claims, according to ICBC.

According to ICBC, the number of crashes across B.C. jumped by 15 per cent in two years from 260,000 in 2013 to 300,000 in 2015.

In addition, more damage claims are being filed to ICBC than ever before. In the last year, they have received 232,300 claims,  an increase of 11 per cent from the previous year.

ICBC is also seeing a rise in the number of people being injured per crash – in the last six years, it says, the number of injury claims per crash has jumped 32% despite vehicles being safer.

ICBC says it is spending roughly $2 billion a year settling injury claims,  a 60 per cent increase over the last seven years.

“We certainly don’t like to have to ask our customers to pay more but these external pressures are very real and they have created a perfect storm which we are struggling to hold off,” said Mark Blucher, ICBC’s president and CEO. “We’ve worked hard to get this rate increase lower than last year’s but the amount of basic premiums we collect will still not cover the increasing amount we’re paying out in basic claims costs.”

 

ICBC last raised the rates by 5.5 per cent last year.

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