(File photo)

The provincial government is taking action to make insurance rates more fair for B.C. drivers after receiving feedback from nearly 35,000 British Columbians, the province announced Thursday.

Based on public feedback, 82.3% of British Columbians think that risky drivers should pay more.

A majority of respondents agreed that the option to pay back claims should be changed, a driver-based system (rather than vehicle owner-based) would be more fair, and that driving convictions should play a greater role on premiums.

Feedback was gathered as part of the ICBC rate fairness engagement survey, which ran between March 5 and April 5, 2018. The survey was competed by 34,277 individuals, with 494 individual emails submitted from the general public.

A full report on the survey’s findings is available here.

Insurance rates based on 30-year-old model

The BC Ministry of Attorney General and ICBC set out to make insurance rates more fair when it became apparent that the current model was outdated.

“While [the model] has seen some improvements over the years, it is in need of updating to more fairly recognize the insurance fees based on driving record and risk,” the report says.

As well as widespread agreement that drivers who cause crashes should pay more, respondents mostly agreed that ICBC should reward or provide better discounts for low-risk drivers.

92.1% of respondents said that in a case where an unlisted driver borrows
a vehicle and causes a crash, the unlisted driver should be held responsible for paying an increase in premiums—not the registered owner of the vehicle.

Some respondents even said they’d be more comfortable sharing a vehicle with others or participating in the ‘sharing economy’ if the risk of being held responsible in the event of an at-fault crash was minimized.

74.3% agreed that drivers with one serious conviction within a three-year period should pay higher insurance premiums, while 58.7% agreed that drivers with two or more minor convictions in a three-year period should do the same.

Changes to be implemented later this year

The next step will see ICBC bring forward a series of increases to the Driver Risk Premium program (which includes excessive speeding, impaired driving, and distracted driving), and the Driver Penalty Point program for minor driving violations.

The increases will be brought to the B.C. Utilities Commission for implementation as early as fall 2018.

“While moving quickly to implement changes for dangerous driving, we are also using this feedback to inform additional changes in the coming months to help make rates more fair for drivers,” said Attorney General David Eby.

“This feedback will help ensure our improved auto insurance rating system is consistent with the values of British Columbians.”

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