B.C. Attorney General David Eby. File photo

ICBC rates going up

Quesnel drivers can expect a large increase in their insurance rates as they jumped Nov. 1

Today, ICBC is collecting more money as the new rate increase will cost the average driver about $130 more each to insure their vehicles.

Yes, rates have been increased by 6.4 per cent.

According to ICBC, there have been more crashes, more claims and higher costs are putting significant external pressure on Insurance Corporation’s insurance rates.

In September, ICBC applied for a basic rate increase of 6.4 per cent with the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC).

It works out to an average increase of $4.75 per month for personal basic insurance coverage.

According to ICBC, the new rates will be on an interim basis and subject to the BCUC’s approval.

Meanwhile, B.C. Attorney General David Eby called the auto insurance rate increase “significant,” but noted other changes will make the public insurer more sustainable.

Eby said ICBC will go before the B.C. Utilities Commission this year to seek a 6.4 per cent increase to basic premiums and increase overall optional insurance rates by 9.6 per cent, for a blended average rate increase of eight per cent.

Eby outlined new initiatives that would put ICBC on better financial footing along with an insurance rate increase.

The new initiatives include red light cameras already at intersections will be active 12 hours a day, then 24 hours a day, up from the current six hours.

Distracted driving pilot technologies will be explored to end cell phone use by high-risk drivers like new drivers and repeat offenders. Eby said drivers who voluntarily adopt such technology could see reduced rates.

There will be new campaigns and education against distracted driving and safety improvements for the most-crash-prone intersections.

There will be an “immediate and comprehensive” business audit of ICBC management.

Eby said pain and suffering payouts for some accident victims with “minor” whiplash injuries could be capped, but ICBC would not switch to a no-fault insurance model.

These initiatives will cost taxpayers money – a lot of money.

Time will tell if the effort and money will pay dividends and see our insurance costs go down.

Eby said the B.C. Liberals “deceived” us about the true degree of losses being suffered at ICBC and criticized them for “raiding” ICBC of $1.2 billion to balance provincial budgets.

Eby said his government would not take money out of ICBC to balance budgets, but he wouldn’t commit to introducing a law to prevent the use of ICBC savings in that way.

Meanwhile, we’ll have to brace ourselves for the inevitable insurance hikes.

Ken Alexander,

Quesnel Cariboo Observer

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