(File photo)

The provincial government announced on Thursday significant changes to ICBC’s rate design that it says will make insurance rates fairer for drivers across B.C.

“We want to modernize ICBC so that British Columbians pay according to their crash history, driving records, and level of risk, and take responsibility for their driving habits. It’s only fair,” attorney general David Eby said.

“Right now, the system is broken. A driver with no crashes could be paying the same premium as a driver with three at-fault crashes in a year. We heard from British Columbians that their insurance rates need to be fair and we agree—good drivers shouldn’t have to continue paying more to cover the costs for those who cause crashes or present a higher risk on our roads.”

The announcement comes after significant public feedback from nearly 35,000 British Columbians on how to make insurance rates fairer.

Key proposals for changes to basic insurance include:

  • Moving to a driver-based model in which at-fault crashes are tied to the driver and not the person who owns the vehicle;
  • Increasing insurance discounts for drivers with up to 40 years of driving experience, up from the current limit of nine years; and,
  • New discounts for vehicles with original, manufacturer-installed automatic emergency braking technology and for vehicles driven less than 5,000 kilometres per year.

Subject to approval from the BC Utilities Commission, the new rates will come into effect in September 2019.

ICBC estimates that based on today’s rates, an estimated 67 per cent of customers would see basic insurance premiums that reflect a lower risk in the first year of transition, while an estimated 33 per cent of customers would see premiums that reflect a higher risk.

More information on the changes are available at ICBC’s website.

BC Liberals criticize NDP for blaming drivers

In response to Thursday’s announcement, BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson said the proposed changes won’t do anything to fix the problems with ICBC.

“All the Attorney General has done today is lay blame at the foot of B.C. drivers, instead of overhauling the broken system that is ICBC,” said Wilkinson, whose party was blamed for leaving ICBC with a $1 billion deficit when it was in power. “It’s time for a complete re-work of the auto insurance framework in B.C., and the NDP is not delivering.”

Wilkinson said the government should look at other jurisdictions that don’t have a government-run insurance company and implement their best practices to help lower rates for British Columbians.

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