ICBC rate changes prompt complaints
ICBC’s new rate rules go into effect September 1 and already drivers are getting hit with sticker shock.
23 year old Anastasia Paterson is one of those drivers who recently got her insurance renewal notice. She had a seven year clean driving record but the rules have changed and some of the discounts have gone away. Her insurance has gone up 20 per cent.
“Yes I am younger but I didn’t think it would affect me that much. I thought maybe my insurance would go up 50 dollars max but not $545,” Paterson said.
Her annual insurance would jump from about $2,600 to more than $3,100 a year.
ICBC’s new rules are supposed to shift the burden to target bad drivers. The crown corporation had been saying three quarters of drivers would be better off, with many seeing a decrease in their overall premiums. However, ICBC is now predicting 55 per cent of drivers with full ICBC coverage – basic and optional – will see a drop.
The crown corporation has released some preliminary figures that show many drivers have experienced a rate change.
Out of 15,000 insurance renewal notices that have gone out so far, 43 per cent have gone up – on average $205 a year. 56 per cent have gone down by about $287, while only 62 remain unchanged.
The new driver based model is supposed to assess a driver’s 10 year history, including convictions and crashes that follow the driver and not the car.
ICBC has released an online tool where you can get an estimate of your new rate.
But younger drivers with clean driving records may be hit harder as some discounts go away. Paterson says her year of driving under a learner’s license no longer counts.
“I think we’re all under the same umbrella, especially for young drivers and it’s just not fair,” Patterson said. To be fair on the insurance agents, I’m not mad at them, I’m mad at ICBC. And they understand the pain fully as well as I do because they’re in the same boat. I expressed how I felt and they agreed because they’ve had plenty of complaints come into their office as well,” said Paterson.
The Office of BC’s Ombudsperson has been bracing for the onslaught of angry drivers over the changes and can investigate if drivers feel they’ve been treated unfairly.
"Have they made those determinations accurately, have they taken the right factors into account and have they explained that properly to the vehicle owner? One of the things we're calling on is ICBC to monitor the fairness of the thousands of insurance policies that come due every day and where adjustments need to be made, to make those in real time so that drivers are positively affected going forward," said Jay Chalke, B.C.’s Ombudsperson.
“I’m glad they’re hearing the complaints and everybody who can speak about it, should speak about it, because they need to know that we’re not happy with this. If we do nothing, nothing changes,” said Paterson.
Instead of renewing her insurance policy, she cancelled it and took out a new one, before the September 1 deadline, keeping her rate close to what she had been paying under the existing rules.
She had to pay a fee for a new plate and activation but says it was worth it, because it bought her more time to try to get another incident free year added to her record.
“I’m glad to at least know that I have 12 months to think about the high increase that’s coming and it’s not coming next month,” she said.
ICBC says while a clean record in driver's learning period doesn't count towards their driving history, neither would a crash.
If you have a learner using your car you'll need to pay an additional premium to make sure they are covered but ICBC says it's a one time cost to cover all learners using the vehicle.