ICBC seeks 5.2 per cent hike in basic auto insurance rates

Distracted drivers' use of personal electronics cited as factor in injury claims rise

ICBC will send refunds totaling $38 million to customers it overcharged since 2008.

ICBC is asking regulators to approve a 5.2 per cent increase in basic auto insurance rates.

The public auto insurer said the rate hike would cost the average customer an extra $40 per year if approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission.

The rate hike is to take effect Nov. 1 on an interim basis while the BCUC reviews the application.

A previously approved 5.2 per cent rate hike that took effect in 2013-14 means drivers will soon be paying 10.4 per cent more than they did in 2012 for basic coverage.

ICBC blamed the latest increase on a continued rise in injury claims costs paid to crash victims for pain and suffering, future care and lost wages.

Bodily injury claims hit $1.9 billion in 2013, up $73 million from 2012 and by more than $500 million from five years earlier. Legal and medical costs are also up.

Drivers’ rapidly growing use of cellphones and other personal electronic devices behind the wheel is one of the factors ICBC cited for the rise in injury claims.

Distracted driving is the second leading cause of fatal car crashes in B.C. – killing 88 people a year – and is the leading cause of rear-end crashes that often cause injuries, spokesman Adam Grossman said.

A new campaign against distracted driving is to roll out in September.

Grossman was unable to provide details justifying why basic rates should be 10.4 per cent higher than 2012 when the injury claim cost increase from 2012 to 2013 was only four per cent. The full rate hike application is to be filed Friday.

Consumers Association of Canada president Bruce Cran said it continues a pattern of steeper increases in basic rates on which ICBC has a monopoly but more restraint on optional coverage rates where it must compete.

He also took aim at the provincial government’s continued raiding of ICBC coffers for general revenue.

The province has budgeted to pull $200 million from ICBC this year, $155 million next year and $125 million in 2016, down from $237 million in 2013 and $576 million in 2010.

Cran said he doesn’t “give a damn” about ICBC and government claims the yearly dividends to the province come only from the optional side and don’t affect basic rates.

“We see it a as one corporation,” he said. “As long as they’re stealing our money by the million by transferring it into government revenues, no matter which division they claim it from, we are being gouged as a public.”

Cran called it a stealth tax on people who drive vehicles that is “absolutely disgraceful.”

ICBC RATE CHANGES and GOVT DIVIDENDS | Create Infographics

Just Posted

Infighting at Kelowna Yacht Club makes it to court

Marc Whittemore, a local lawyer and prominent member of the club, filed a notice of civil claim Feb. 1

Okanagan College basketball wraps up regular season

Coyotes’ squads will finish the season with two games against Capilano

Death Café returns to Okanagan

Vernon, Kelowna and Summerland events toast touchy subject

Kelowna wrestlers to compete at B.C. Wrestling Championships

The team is excited to head to the championships in Langley starting Feb. 17.

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Semi loses control on Highway 97A in Shuswap

Slippery roads contribute to crash of transport truck carrying tires

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Syrian refugee responds to racism in Canada

Guest columnist Mustafa Zaqrit

Lower Mainland boy shot with pellet gun

Surrey RCMP believe Cloverdale pellet gun incidents are ‘linked’

Okanagan firefighters respond to emergency call for own member

Oliver firefighters found out who the call was for when they arrived on the scene

Most Read