ICBC rate changes leave some good drivers frustrated
Published Friday, August 30, 2019 6:24PM PDT Last Updated Friday, August 30, 2019 6:27PM PDT
Brian Homeyer has been driving for more than 40 years, and it's been at least 30 since his last accident.
"I consider myself to be a reasonably safe driver," he told CTV News Vancouver.
So Homeyer was looking forward to renewing his car insurance under ICBC's new rate model, because the company had said good drivers would be rewarded.
"I expected I'd get some type of lower premium," he said. "I didn't really have any idea of five per cent, 10 per cent, anything like that, but I was expecting a smaller premium."
Instead, the premium for his basic insurance went up by $28, from $726 to $754. That's not a big jump -- it's slightly less than four per cent -- but it bothers Homeyer because it's not what he was told to expect.
"Supposedly, good drivers are supposed to get a lower premium, so that's my problem," he said. "I don't understand how good drivers are paying more if the story from ICBC is that good drivers will pay less and poor drivers will pay more."
The explanation, according to ICBC, is that Homeyer's coverage plan includes only basic insurance. Those who have only basic coverage through ICBC will see the cost of that coverage go up, according to Joanna Linsangan, spokesperson for the company.
Linsangan said the vast majority of ICBC's customers have both basic and optional insurance coverage through the company, and most of those people will see their premiums go down.
"Based on our modeling, we expect that 55 per cent of our full-coverage customers will actually be paying less than they do today," Linsangan said.
So far, the modeling is closely matching reality, she added.
Out of 15,000 who have already renewed their coverage under the new rate structure, 56 per cent are paying less, and the average decrease is $287 per year, Linsangan said.
She said the cost of basic insurance has increased because of rising legal costs for the company, adding that Homeyer's case was "atypical."
"I get where he's coming from," she said of Homeyer's case. "He's frustrated. We're frustrated. But it simply boils down to rising legal costs … because of that, we are unable to provide him with the savings that he deserves as a safe driver."
Homeyer told CTV News he does have extended, optional insurance, but he gets it through a different provider because it's more affordable than going through ICBC.
On Thursday, B.C. Ombudsperson Jay Chalke issued a reminder to the public that his office is available to handle complaints and enquiries from ICBC customers.
"We recommend that vehicle owners try to solve their problems directly with ICBC and its agents first, but if they still believe they have been treated unfairly, our investigators may be able to look more closely at individual complaints," Chalke said.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's St. John Alexander