ICBC has applied for a 4.9 per cent rate increase to its basic vehicle insurance rates to take effect Nov. 1.
For an average driver who now pays $1,369 a year for basic insurance, the increase would add an extra $36. In its rate application to the B.C. Utilities Commission, ICBC is also seeking four per cent decrease in optional coverage that would reduce that annual bill by $25.
The last rate increase was 11 per cent in 2012, coupled with a six per cent cut in optional insurance where ICBC competes with private insurers.
In an open letter to customers, Mark Blucher, interim CEO of ICBC, says the increase is needed to keep up with increasing bodily injury claims, with higher payouts as more people turn to lawyers to dispute their insurance payouts.
Blucher said injury claim volume is also rising, including crashes involving drivers distracted by smartphones, and more pedestrians and cyclists on roads.
ICBC cut 260 positions last year after an audit of its operations showed its management ranks had swelled by 41 per cent between 2007 and 2011. Blucher said ICBC's administrative costs amount to five cents out of every premium dollar, with 86 cents going to claim payouts.
Bodily injury claims, for pain and suffering, future care and loss of wages, totalled $1.9 billion in 2012, up $165 million from the previous year and $400 million higher than five years previously.