As the first drivers start to sign up under the new ICBC rate regime, early figures show a small average decline in the rates paid by drivers – but big swings for drivers who have a crash history.

The changes officially come into effect next month, but hundreds have already signed up for the new system.

One of those drivers is Keith, who has a lot riding on the rate changes.

"I have a Corvette, a '67 Chevelle. I have an F-350, a one-ton truck and a CVO Springer Harley-Davidson," Keith listed to CTV News Vancouver.

"I've got four vehicles insured and ICBC just rakes me. I'm 28 years of safe driving. I think I should have a break."

That's the principle ICBC says is behind the changes – part of a reworked model as the agency attempts to douse what the province's attorney general once described as a "dumpster fire.

"Customers that have demonstrated years of safe driving will be saving money, and those who have little experience or have caused crashes will be paying more. That's the crux of the new model," ICBC's Tyler McGilvery said.

Already, nearly 1,200 customers have signed up. ICBC provided CTV with a breakdown:

  • 511 drivers, or about 43 per cent, saw an increased premium, with an average increase of $126;
  • 656, or about 56 per cent, saw their premiums drop an average of about $329;
  • And five saw no change.

The average rate drop for everyone who has signed up so far was $90.

The biggest drop in premiums was around $2,000. In that case, someone removed a bad driver from their policy.

The largest increase was also about $2,000 – someone whose crash history caught up with them. The amount was raised past a transition cap because there was a change to their policy.

"They caused multiple crashes in the last couple of years," said an ICBC spokesperson. "They only have one vehicle. The transition cap applies for renewals where there are no material changes."

ICBC says those are outliers, but the charge for so-called bad drivers could be much harsher than anyone's expecting, according to a former deputy minister who is studying the changes.

"This whole rate redesign, it was a political move. We already had a system that rewarded good drivers and penalized poor drivers," Richard McCandless said.

"This new system is much more draconian for the poor drivers."

The sample size is just around 1,200 drivers – a small number compared to the millions who will eventually transition. And the rate change also includes the 6.3 per cent rate increase ICBC was granted in January.

But ICBC says it's in line with their projections. A spokesperson said said they expect 55 per cent of customers to pay less, with three quarters of those people saving less than $200. For those paying more, the majority will pay less than $200 more.