Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone issued the following statement on the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) submission to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) for next year’s rate:
“The B.C. government wants to ensure that ICBC insurance rates remain as affordable as possible for British Columbians and as such, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has worked closely with ICBC to explore every possible avenue to make sure this happens.
“The reality is that ICBC continues to face mounting costs as a result of the frequency, complexity, and severity of bodily injury claims, in addition to higher vehicle repair costs. In fact, the number of crashes in B.C. jumped from 260,000 in 2013 to 300,000 last year. Added to this, vehicles are more expensive to repair than ever before – vehicle damage costs totalled $1.36 billion in 2015 alone, up 17% from 2014. And injury claims topped $2 billion for the first time in 2014 and reached $2.4 billion last year.
“The actual cost of these pressures would have required a rate increase of 15.5%. However, government and ICBC have taken a number of steps to protect families from the full cost impact of these pressures.
“We have directed a $472 million transfer from ICBC’s optional side of the business to offset the cost of basic insurance. This $472 million transfer is part of the more than $1.4 billion ICBC has transferred from the optional side of their business to keep basic rate increases down since 2012.
“ICBC has also introduced a new information technology system that forecasts $90 – 100 million in savings per year, in addition to an enhanced fraud strategy, and we’ve worked together to introduce tougher penalties for distracted driving. ICBC has also hired 160 new claims staff earlier this year to help address the ongoing increase in injury claims and to improve customer service, and, ICBC plans to fill an additional 180 claims positions before the year is out.
“As a result of these combined efforts, we have managed to reduce the impact of the basic rate adjustment and ICBC will be seeking a 4.9% increase in its 2016 rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission – or an average of $3.50 a month.
“We will continue to work with ICBC to identify and implement longer-term, sustainable measures that will ease the pressure for future rate increases, to ensure that ICBC insurance rates remain affordable for B.C. families.”