Monday December 12, 2022 | NORTH VANCOUVER, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
Government reforms to ICBC are paying off with affordable, steady rates and fiscal stability for people, says Premier David Eby.
At a livestreamed media session today from the head office of ICBC in North Vancouver, Eby said that “BC should be a place where everyone can build a good life”. The desirability of living here attracted 70,000 more people to BC in the first two quarters of this fiscal year (April to September 2022).
He mentioned housing and the cost of child care as key components of affordability, and in that context included no increase to the basic vehicle insurance rates as another way to help with the cost of living.
Basic rates to see no increase:
ICBC is filing an application with the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) for no increase to basic insurance rates for the next two years, which marks five years of no increases to basic insurance rates.
“Our government is committed to keeping costs down for all British Columbians,” said Premier David Eby. “Holding firm on ICBC’s basic insurance rate for two more years will help millions of drivers with their monthly bills amid global inflation.”
“Our first priority is making sure that life is more affordable for them,” said Premier Eby today about the expectations of British Columbians. “British Columbians’ priorities are our government’s priorities,” he told media after the official announcement at the ICBC office in North Vancouver, delivered with Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth alongside.
“ICBC needs to be self-supporting,” the premier said. “ICBC is making money on its core business.”
“Reserves are in place at ICBC to ensure that core business is in place,” said Premier Eby.
“Lots of layers of protection” are in place to cover unforeseen needs, said Nicolas Jimenez, president and CEO, ICBC.
Two-year time frame:
While pitching affordability as the priority reason for a two-year time frame on the ICBC insurance rate freeze, that time frame of course plays perfectly into the promise of the new premier to not call a BC provincial election until the next scheduled date (which is in October 2024).
Public Safety mandate:
As the newly reappointed Minister of Public Safety, Mike Farnworth today said that with affordability being the key goal of the BC NDP government since 2017, the application to ___
“Drivers will continue to benefit with the lowest rates on vehicle insurance in the country,” said Farnworth. He said that with an approved increase, vehicle insurance rates will be at their lowest level since 2014.
Affordable rates with predictability:
With the introduction of Enhanced Care in May 2021, auto insurance rates in British Columbia have gone from some of the most expensive in Canada to being among the most affordable. A Canada-wide rate comparison report by Ernst & Young looked at 30 different driver profiles and compared how much auto insurance would cost in nine provinces across Canada including a comparison to provinces where vehicle insurance is privately delivered. The report found that British Columbians pay among the lowest auto insurance rates in Canada.
“A key priority with Enhanced Care was to make insurance rates more affordable and to keep them that way, and this rate application continues to deliver on that,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
“We are pleased that, during this time of rising inflation and the cost of everyday life increasing, ICBC is able to keep Basic insurance rates stable for British Columbians for another two years,” said Farnworth. He said that offers predictability (over the standard one-year for rate review) to at least 2025.
Beyond basic insurance, the Enhanced Care coverage provides “significantly improved care and recovery benefits” if they’re insured in a crash, regardless of fault. Care and support are provided “immediately after the crash, eliminating the years it may take to get their compensation”.
Application requires approval:
If the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) approves the application, British Columbians will continue to benefit from stable and more affordable basic auto insurance rates for another two years.
“This filing means British Columbians will have seen no increase to basic insurance rates for five years. We’re very pleased to see Enhanced Care continues to deliver on one of its key principles: more affordable auto insurance for our customers,” said ICBC president Jimenez.
In support of ICBC’s basic insurance rate application, government has provided direction to BCUC to ensure ICBC builds sufficient capital reserves, which paves the way for a two-year rate filing.
Along with more affordable and stable insurance rates, Enhanced Care is providing British Columbians with some of the best care, recovery and income-replacement benefits available in Canada.
Under Enhanced Care, British Columbians injured in crashes can have peace of mind knowing they will be supported with benefits when they need them for as long as they need them.
The Premier and Cabinet can override a BCUC decision. The Premier declared a recent BC Hydro customer credit recently (most of it rolling out this month and in January to every BC Hydro account holder in the province).
===== LEARN MORE (BC Government links):
Information about basic insurance and Enhanced Care is available here: https://www.icbc.com/insurance/products-coverage/Pages/basic-insurance.aspx
Information about the Ernst & Young report is available here: https://www.icbc.com/about-icbc/newsroom/Pages/2022-dec08.aspx
Learn about ICBC’s relief rebate: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022PSSG0016-000430
New BC Cabinet announced by Premier David Eby at Government House (December 7, 2022)
David Eby sworn in as 37th premier (November 18, 2022)
===== ABOUT ISLAND SOCIAL TRENDS:
Fully online since mid-2020, Island Social Trends emerged from the extensive groundwork of previous print publications in the west shore: MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and West Shore Voice News (2014-2020).
Since 2008, journalist and editor Mary P Brooke has taken a socioeconomic lens to the news of the Greater Victoria west shore and south Vancouver Island region, including BC provincial news, and national news impacts.
Ms Brooke holds a B.Sc. in nutrition and community health education, and a certificate in Public Relations. Her professional career in journalism goes back to the 1980s, including curriculum development for adults entering the journalism profession. As an entrepreneur, Mary Brooke owns Brookeline Publishing House Inc which over the years has published in areas of health and business, as well as delivering IT training online and print services retail.