Insurance rates for many drivers in British Columbia are about to go up again.
The province has directed the BC Utilities Commission to approve a 4.9 per cent rate increase on basic insurance for ICBC.
Transport Minister Todd Stone says annually increases of nearly five percent are too high for most people to afford.
He says a review of the public insurer will be commissioned in 2017.
“We are taking action to keep ICBC’s rate increases affordable for British Columbians. Today, I’ve directed ICBC’s board to commission a third-party review with a goal to produce a range of options for ICBC to increase fairness, affordability and sustainability when it comes to basic insurance rates, said Stone. Our goal with this review is to put British Columbians first and for ICBC to manage its cost pressures, ensuring affordable rates for the long term.”
Earlier this year, the province announced ICBC would be doubling basic premiums for high-value luxury vehicles.
In addition, laws and penalties for distracted driving have been strengthened to crack down on this dangerous behaviour, which continues to be one of the leading causes of crashes in B.C.
The board will begin the review process immediately, and have more information in the new year with the expectation that some or all of the work will be completed in time to support next year’s rate-filing process.
‘Particularly sleazy politics:’ NDP critic
But NDP ICBC critic Adrian Dix says the B.C. government’s review of basic insurance rates is nothing but a pre-election ploy.
Dix says the Liberals look out for themselves and not motorists.
“They did a review before the last election in 2012. They accepted all the recommendations and rates went up by 30 per cent. And now they’ve been forced to admit that their plan is to raise rates by 42 per cent after the election. I think it’s particularly sleazy politics to announce a review by cancelling a review that would be public and would tell the public the truth before the election.”
The rate increase kicks in in January.
With files from Trevor Knapp