VICTORIA – Major shifts in direction are being considered to ensure good drivers in British Columbia receive lower insurance rates, says the minister responsible for the province’s public auto insurer.
David Eby said the government introduced an online survey Monday that poses questions about the public mood to realign coverage at the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia in order to offer major incentives for low-risk drivers by changing discount and penalty provisions.
The proposed changes are part of the government’s plan to modernize the Crown corporation and restore its dismal finances, which Eby has described as a “dumpster fire.” The provincial budget forecasts a $1.3-billion deficit at ICBC this year.
Eby said the government wants to hear from people in B.C. about the government’s plans for change. The public consultation ends April 5.
Last month, he said the government will introduce legislation to change ICBC, including a $5,500 cap on claim payouts for minor pain and suffering.
“The question is, who is a bad driver and how much more should they pay,” Eby said. “Is it someone who has two speeding tickets? It is someone who has at-fault accidents? Is it someone who has a single infraction with excessive speed?”
The survey asks for input on changing policies for at-fault crashes, discounts and penalties.
Under the proposed changes, one at-fault accident would be allowed without penalty after 20 years of safe driving, instead of the current 13 years. After an at-fault accident, it would also take drivers 10 years to return to their pre-accident discount rate status instead of the current three years.
The proposal includes increased driver penalties and risk points for excessive speeding offences.
“Car insurance rates in our province aren’t fair,” Eby says in a video on the government website. “Low-risk drivers with perfect records are paying more than they should. High-risk drivers who are driving up costs for everyone aren’t paying enough. We want to fix this problem.”
The government says the auto insurance rating system is 30 years old and has not been updated in 10 years.