BRITISH Columbians will have the additional convenience of being able to renew their ICBC auto insurance online starting in May 2022, the Province announced on Friday.
When ICBC’s online insurance model launches, customers will be able to renew personal insurance and get temporary operation permits, with some restrictions. More products are expected to be made available in the future.
“We know British Columbians want more convenience when they purchase and renew their auto insurance,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “This is another important step to make ICBC work better for British Columbians. While we make progress toward online renewals, our main focus remains on delivering Enhanced Care coverage and an average 20% reduction in insurance rates for British Columbians.”
The regulatory and technical work required for these online services will take place over the coming year. This includes consultations to ensure B.C.’s broker community is ready for the forthcoming changes and the development of regulations that are needed related to the licence plate decal requirement. Decal-related consultations are underway with stakeholders, including brokers, police agencies and road safety partners, and a decision on the future of the decal requirement is expected in 2021.
“Connecting with our customers in the ways they want and providing service options that make them feel supported continue to be an important part of our work,” said Nicolas Jimenez, President and CEO, ICBC. “COVID-19 has accelerated our expansion of digital services for customers, including a shift to email and phone-based insurance transactions. Offering insurance renewals online will make buying insurance even more convenient and flexible.”
The online insurance model is being developed with input from ICBC’s Online Broker Task Force, made up of representatives from ICBC and B.C.’s broker community. Further details about how online insurance purchases will work will be forthcoming next year.
“Brokers and their consumer-focused advocacy will play an important part in delivering a great customer experience as part of ICBC’s Enhanced Care coverage changes next year and for the new online insurance services,” said Chuck Byrne, Executive Director and COO, Insurance Broker’s Association of B.C. “B.C.’s insurance brokers are up to the challenge. We know there’s much to accomplish and we look forward to working together with ICBC to reach the May 2022 date for online services.”
In addition to offering email and phone insurance renewal options during the COVID-19 pandemic, ICBC recently launched email sign-up to send important communications like renewal reminders to customers. It has also started direct deposit registration as the latest initiative in its shift to more online services.
Many ICBC services are currently available online: reporting claims, checking claim status, booking driver licensing knowledge and road tests, ordering driver abstracts, making driver licence address changes, and using the insurance premium estimation tool.
THE BC Liberals slammed the ICBC, saying that reform at ICBC continues at a snail’s pace.
“Ensuring people can access ICBC services online should be a top priority for the NDP, especially given the fact that B.C.’s broker community has provided their full cooperation to implement online renewals,” said MLA Mike Morris, BC Liberal Critic for Public Safety and Solicitor General. “We saw ICBC quickly implement insurance renewals over the phone when the pandemic hit earlier this year, why would online renewals take this long?
“British Columbians already pay the highest car insurance premiums in the country and the NDP just keep pushing the prospect of online renewals further down the road,” Morris added. “B.C needs to open ICBC up to competition and allow British Columbians with a choice in how they get their vehicle insurance.”