Feedback from concerned B.C. residents is prompting action from the provincial government to ensure insurance rates are more fair. (Black Press files)

Public pleads for fair insurance rates

Prompts provincial government to make changes

Following some incredibly strong feedback from nearly 35,000 concerned British Columbians, the Government of British Columbia is taking steps and undertaking action to ensure insurance rates become more fair for B.C. drivers, according to a news release issued by the Ministry of Attorney General.

“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.”

The public feedback in question comes from the ICBC rate fairness engagement survey, a survey that ran from March 5 to April 5. In total, 34,277 individuals completed the survey, while 494 individual email submissions came from the general public as well as seven stakeholder submissions that were courtesy from organizations and experts.

Based on the feedback received from the public, 82.3 per cent of British Columbians believe that drivers with a history of risky driving habits should pay more than the average member of the public.

The vast majority of British Columbians who took part in the survey also believe that driving convictions should play a role in determining premiums, as well as suggesting that a driver-based system be implemented to promote fairness, as insurance rates would be tied to drivers, rather than vehicle owners.

Public response was mixed, however, when it came to penalty amounts vehicle owners should pay if a collision is caused by an unlisted driver, as well as whether the amount of distance driven by any given driver should play a greater role when determining insurance rates, per the news release.

According to the release, the government’s first step in assuring that rate fairness will improve involves them asking ICBC to bring forward increases to the Driver Risk Premium (DRP) program and the Driver Penalty Point (DPP) program to the B.C. Utilities commission (BCUC) so that these changes can be ready for implementation as early as fall of this year.

Per the release, the DRP program includes distracted driving, impaired driving and excessive speeding, while the DPP program focuses on minor driving violations.

These increases, once approved by the BCUC, would help guarantee that drivers are paying an appropriate amount that reflects their driving history, patterns and behaviours. Once these changes are in play, future premium increases across these penalty programs are anticipated to be aligned with any other basic insurance rate changes.

“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.”

For further details listed in the ICBC rate fairness engagement report and information regarding ICBC’s current rate system and the proposals considered in the engagement, visit engage.gov.bc.ca/ratefairness/ and engage.gov.bc.ca/ratefairness/rate-fairness-101/

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