British Columbia

B.C. government moves forward on making bad drivers pay higher premiums

Changes to how driver insurance premiums are calculated in British Columbia could be in place as soon as this fall.

Penalty amounts will go up by 20% in each of next 2 years if approved by utilities commission

ICBC is undergoing major reforms due to a projected $1.3 billion deficit in the 2017/18 fiscal year. (David Horemans/CBC)

Changes to how insurance premiums are calculated in British Columbia for drivers with several violations could be in place as soon as this fall. 

The provincial government announced Thursday they've asked ICBC to increase the Driver Risk Premium program and the Driver Penalty Point program for minor driving violations.

The proposed changes would see penalty premiums increase by 20 per cent in each of the next two years. 

"While moving quickly to implement changes for dangerous driving, we are also using this feedback to inform additional changes in the coming months to help make rates more fair for drivers," said Attorney General David Eby.

"This feedback will help ensure our improved auto insurance rating system is consistent with the values of British Columbians."

Support for tying rates to drivers

The announcement comes a month after a government survey, completed by nearly 35,000 people, showed 82 per cent agreed with the statement that "drivers who are found to be at fault in crashes should pay more."

In order for the recommendations to become law, ICBC must put forward the proposal to the B.C. Utilities Commission, which must approve them. 

The survey also showed broad support for the idea that insurance rates should be tied to drivers, not vehicle owners, and that drivers should no longer have the option to immediately repay vehicle damage claims in exchange for not having their premiums affected. 

The government launched the survey shortly after revealing that ICBC faced a $1.3-billion loss in the 2017/2018 fiscal year. Last month, they passed legislation putting a cap of $5,500 for pain and suffering on minor injury claims.

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