The District of Sicamous wants an update on a UBCM resolution aimed at opening car insurance in B.C. up to private competition. (File photo)

Cost of auto insurance fuels Sicamous council’s push for competitive, open market

Rising ICBC rates a concern, particularly for young drivers

The District of Sicamous is keen to curtail rising ICBC rates by opening the market to private insurers.

At the 2019 UBCM convention, resolution was made requesting that UBCM work with the provincial government to open the basic auto insurance sector to the private sector. This was prompted by a 6.3 per cent insurance rate hike that went into effect on April 1, 2019, along with research from 2017 showing how even before the 2019 rate increase, British Columbians were paying an average of $1,680 a year for car insurance – more than $200 per year more than the next priciest province, Ontario.

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“My question to council was what’s our next step?” responds Sicamous councillor Colleen Anderson.

Anderson said it is important to stay on top of the issues and being able to affording car insurance has become a challenge for some. Anderson said it is particularly difficult for youth who often rely on a vehicle to get to work.

“I suspect that our rates will continue to go up so they (ICBC) can pay down their debt or figure out why they’re so far in debt,” Anderson said.

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She said options need to be investigated, one of which is allowing private competition into the province’s insurance market.

Anderson said a request for an update on progress with the 2019 resolution will be going to UBCM.

“I think the conversation needs to be front and centre. We can’t let it be put on the back burner again; it needs to be addressed, it needs to be fixed.”

As the district’s elected officials seek more information on the future of car insurance in B.C., the district itself is spending more money on insuring their fleet of vehicles, having spent $29,352 in 2018 and $30,257 in 2019. $32,766 is budgeted for insurance in 2020.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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