VICTORIA, B.C. — The provincial government announced today that it asked ICBC to make changes to the Driver Risk Premium and Driver Penalty Point programs after releasing a report that looked at feedback from residents about desired changes at the public insurance company.
The government said that based on the feedback, over 82 percent of British Columbians believe that risky drivers should pay more for vehicle insurance. The feedback, which was gathered earlier this year, also shows that a majority of respondents want to see a driver-based system that would tie insurance rates to drivers, rather than vehicle owners.
“Changes to our auto insurance rating system are long overdue,” said Attorney General David Eby. “The responses from the ICBC rate fairness engagement indicate the majority of British Columbians favour changes that will make insurance more affordable for low-risk drivers and see high-risk drivers pay increased insurance premiums to better reflect the risks they represent.”
According to the report, 63.5 percent of respondents said that the option to pay back at-fault claims should be modified or eliminated entirely, while 30.7 percent believed it should be kept the same. 41.4 percent said that the option should be kept only for vehicle damage claims of $2,000 or less.
74.3 percent of respondents agreed that drivers with one serious driving conviction like excessive speeding; distracted driving; or impaired driving within a three-year period should pay higher insurance premiums, while 58.7 percent agreed that drivers with two or more minor convictions in a three-year period should pay higher premiums.
As a first step to improve rate fairness, government has asked ICBC to bring forward increases to the Driver Risk Premium and the Driver Penalty Point programs to the B.C. Utilities Commission. Once approved by the BCUC, these increases will result in penalty amounts increasing by 20 percent in the first year, and an additional 20 percent hike in the next year, to help make sure drivers are paying an appropriate amount that reflects their driving behaviours.
Once these changes have been implemented, future penalty program premium increases are anticipated to be aligned with any future basic insurance rate changes. If approved by the BCUC, the changes would be ready to be implemented as early as this fall.
“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 Eby. “This feedback will help ensure our improved auto insurance rating system is consistent with the values of British Columbians.”