ICBC rate hike proposal would push basic auto insurance up $3 per month

ICBC is applying to raise basic automobile insurance rates by 5.2 per cent in order to cover the rising cost of injury claims due to distracted driving.

Provincial insurance agency says increase necessary to cover rising injury claims

ICBC is the provincially-run automobile insurance agency in B.C. (CBC)

ICBC is applying once again to raise basic automobile insurance rates — this time by 5.2 per cent — in order, they say, to cover the rising cost of injury claims due to distracted driving.

"We certainly understand that nobody likes the news of a rate increase," spokesperson for ICBC Adam Grossman told CBC News. "But the fact is, that the cost of injury claims in B.C. continues to grow every year.

"They're currently up $1.9 billion a year — that's almost two thousand million dollars a year just on injury claims," he said.

The increase would cost most vehicle owners about $3 per month or $36 per year, starting Nov. 1, if approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission, according to the provincially-owned corporation.

The corporation blames rising accident rates from distracted driving, and rising legal and medical bills for the proposed hike.

"The rising number and cost of injury claims is commonly the biggest single factor driving rates for all auto insurers across North America and beyond,"  said a statement released by the corporation on Tuesday morning.

"There are various factors contributing to the increasing number of injury claims, including the rapid adoption and use of personal electronic devices behind the wheel.

"Distracted driving is now the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C., with an average of 88 people killed each year, and the leading cause of rear-end crashes which often result in injuries."

The proposal comes just one year after ICBC requested a 4.9 per cent hike citing the same reasons, and received permission to put rates up 5.2 per cent. The extra 0.3 per cent was deferred until this year.

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