Vancouver: ICBC has applied to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) to raise basic insurance rates by 5.2 per cent next year. If the new application is approved this will mean, on average, approximately $3 extra per month for customers, ICBC said in a press release.
ICBC says the hike is needed due to ongoing pressure from increasing injury claims costs, which cover payouts for pain and suffering, future care and loss of wages.
The insurance corporation said that bodily injury claims totalled $1.9 billion in 2013 alone – up by $73 million from 2012 and by more than $500 million from just five years ago. The rising number and cost of injury claims is commonly the biggest single factor driving rates for all auto insurers across North America and beyond.
According to ICBC, there are various factors contributing to the increasing number of injury claims, including the rapid adoption and use of personal electronic devices behind the wheel. Distracted driving is now the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C., with an average of 88 people killed each year, and the leading cause of rear-end crashes which often result in injuries.
ICBC is hoping that the BCUC will approve the increase effective November 1 on an interim basis while it reviews the full application.
ICBC rate hike the B.C. Liberals’ latest blow to affordability: NDP
Victoria: BC NDP opposed the ICBC’s rate hike application. NDP blamed BC Liberals and termed it as latest blow to affordability. NDP said that the B.C. Liberals are allowing rates to skyrocket at ICBC, making life even less affordable for British Columbians.
“The 5.2-per-cent hike proposed today follows years of hikes by Premier Christy Clark’s government,” said New Democrat ICBC spokesperson Mable Elmore. “While she has been premier, her government has brought in big rate hikes in three out of four years, increasing rates by a total of 23 per cent – that’s $140 more every year for the average driver.”
Because of ICBC’s policy of rate smoothing, drivers can expect a rate hike next year that is within 1.5 per cent of this year’s – that could mean yet another hike of as much as 6.7 per cent.
“This hike is just another blow to affordability in this province,” said New Democrat finance spokesperson Carole James. “While Premier Clark claims that she is not raising taxes, her government is quietly raising hidden taxes that take money directly from the pockets of British Columbians.”
This rate hike comes on top of a 28-per-cent Hydro rate hike and further increases to ferry fares and medical service premiums – all within the last year.
“Hikes like this chip away at family budgets and make it even harder to afford the necessities. The B.C. Liberals are showing once again that they are not listening to British Columbians.”