B.C. government says proposed insurance rate decrease is largest in 40 years

By The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s public insurance company is applying for a 15 per cent decrease in its basic rates.

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says if the request is approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission, it will be the largest decrease in 40 years.

The application is part of the government’s approach to reduce insurance premiums for drivers by an average of 20 per cent, or about $400, along with a new coverage plan that goes into effect in the spring.

The Insurance Corporation of B.C. says in a news release that its new enhanced care coverage plan will see drivers start saving money in May. 

Farnworth says the new system will save about $1.5 billion in legal costs, which will mean lower rates. 

He says many drivers will also receive a one-time refund due to the difference in cost between current insurance rates and those that are set to go into effect.

Nicolas Jimenez, the president and CEO of ICBC, said Monday that the “vast majority” of B.C. drivers can expect to see significant savings next year.

ICBC is confident the utilities commission will agree to the rate reduction, he added.

Shortly after the NDP took office in 2017, Attorney General David Eby described billions in losses at ICBC as a “dumpster fire.” He said the province’s former B.C. Liberal government siphoned off billions in excess capital from the corporation, setting it on the path to insolvency. 

Farnworth said the filing to the commission shows ICBC has the financial stability to provide the rate reduction.

“It’s about affordability, it’s also about ensuring the right balance to ensure that we’ve put ICBC in a sound financial footing, that it doesn’t find itself in a situation again where a government literally plundered, raided, pillaged its reserves over several years,” he said. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 14, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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