Province says it is trying to keep ICBC insurance rates as low as possible

TRANSPORTATION and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone on Monday said: “British Columbians have told our government that ICBC insurance rates need to be as low as possible. The government will work with ICBC during the ensuing period to ensure the basic insurance rate application meets those expectations.”

Stone said in a statement: “Government has been informed that ICBC has provided the British Columbia Utilities Commission with its initial documentation and a schedule outlining the information that it will provide in the weeks ahead with respect to their 2015 rate application.

“ICBC has advised government that a number of concerning trends and cost pressures are weighing heavily on its projections, and it needs additional time to conclude mitigation efforts to limit the next basic insurance increase for rate payers. For example, ICBC has informed us that it is facing an increase in the complexity, frequency and severity of bodily injury claims. Last year, bodily injury costs totalled over $2.17 billion, up nearly 10% in one year. This trend continues to grow.

“While the number of crashes is relatively unchanged, ICBC is also reporting more crashes with multiple injuries than ever before, with more cases being potentially fraudulent. Just last month, ICBC released a media bulletin about a ‘jump-in’ scheme, where it was able to determine only one individual was in an accident, but two other relatives fraudulently filed bodily injury claims.

“These increasing costs must be covered by the basic insurance rates we all pay. If left unmitigated, rates could increase by as much as 6.7%.

“I have made staff from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Finance available to work with through ICBC’s numbers and help identify some additional strategies that ICBC could embrace, all in an effort to apply as much downward pressure on insurance rates as possible. I’ve also asked Gordon Macatee – an expert in Crown corporations – to support this work.