British Columbia

Data claims B.C. residents pay highest auto insurance premiums in Canada

B.C. residents pay the highest auto insurance premiums in Canada, according to data released by the General Insurance Statistical Agency (GISA), the statistical agency run by Canada's provincial insurance regulators.

British Columbians pay an average of $1,832 annually

The average premium is calculated by comparing the total premiums collected from passenger vehicles in each province and dividing it by the number of vehicles. (David Horemans/CBC)

B.C. residents pay the highest auto insurance premiums in Canada, according to data released by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). 

The data shows that people living in B.C. pay an average of $1,832 annually, compared to $1,316 in neighbouring Alberta, $1,505 in Ontario and $717 in Quebec.

The IBC said that prices are expected to continue rising in the years ahead, according to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia's (ICBC) latest financial statements. 

In January 2018, B.C. Attorney General David Eby called the state of ICBC a "financial dumpster fire" and vowed to make drastic changes to the province's automobile insurance industry.

In March, major changes came into effect.

IBC vice-president Aaron Sutherland said in the statement that "while many important changes are underway in B.C., none are expected to begin to reduce the price most drivers are paying."

The average premium is calculated by comparing the total premiums collected from passenger vehicles in each province and dividing it by the number of vehicles. 

ICBC response

ICBC spokesperson Joanna Linsangan says B.C. is taking a different approach to fix the system — by redirecting money currently going toward legal costs to better benefits and improved care for people injured in crashes.

""Whether we have a public or private auto insurance system in B.C., the same underlying problems of a high number of crashes and record-high numbers of claims and costs would still need to be addressed — simply changing to private insurance would not solve these issues," Linsangan said. 

She further pointed out recent studies have shown jurisdictions with private insurance — like Ontario and Alberta — have had some of the largest increases in drivers' premiums. 

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the data for average insurance rates was released by the General Insurance Statistical Agency (GISA). In fact, the data for BC was calculated by the Insurance Bureau of Canada using the GISA's methodology.
    Aug 22, 2019 11:01 AM PT
  • An earlier version of this story mistakenly said Aaron Sutherland was an ICBC vice-president. In fact, he is an Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) vice-president.
    Aug 14, 2019 12:23 PM PT

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.