Saskatchewan

SGI proposal would see insurance rate hike for most electric vehicles in Sask.

Most electric vehicle owners in the province could be paying more for insurance, after the latest rate proposals submitted by Saskatchewan Government Insurance to the Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel.

About 52% of vehicles would see rate decrease under latest rate proposals

SGI says as of March, there were 403 electric vehicles registered in Saskatchewan. (Toby Talbot/Associated Press)

Most electric vehicle owners in the province could be paying more for insurance, after the latest rate proposals submitted by Saskatchewan Government Insurance to the Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel.

SGI's proposal, submitted Tuesday, includes rate decreases for about 52 per cent of Saskatchewan vehicles, with an average annual drop of $102. If approved, rates will go up for about 48 per cent of vehicles, with an average annual increase of $96. Rates for less than one per cent will stay the same.

But 81 per cent of electric vehicles will see a rate increase, with decreases for five out of 31 EV models one maintaining the same rate. SGI said as of March 12, there are 403 registered fully electric vehicles in the province.

If approved, the new rates will come into effect on Jan. 21, 2022.

Jeff Stepan, chief financial officer for the Crown insurance corporation, said the rate proposal is a "revenue-neutral rebalancing of rates."

"We do what's called a rate indication every year, so we assess based on how [frequently] cars get into accidents and the cost to repair those accidents," he said.

Stepan said after the assessment, the corporation changes rates by increasing or decreasing them to ensure customers are paying the adequate rate for their vehicles.

"Really, it's all about fairness," he said.

Stepan said there is no difference in the analysis between electric vehicles and those powered by gas or diesel vehicles.

He said SGI takes information from the Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating (CLEAR) system, which looks at individual vehicles.

"With that we are able to say that [electric] vehicles are more expensive to repair. So in order to ensure fairness for the rest of the vehicles, anybody driving an electric vehicle is going to pay a bit more," he said.

"It has nothing to do with anything other than just setting the rates to ensure they're paying their fair amount to ensure that other vehicle classes aren't subsidizing those electric vehicles."

Incentives needed, say EV drivers

Jason Cruickshank, the president of the SaskEV Society, said the possible increase in rates is concerning.

"We've heard over and over again from industry and experts, now is not the time to be increasing costs for electric vehicle drivers," he said.

He pointed to the Tesla Model 3 SR+, which is eligible for a $5,000 federal rebate but could face a rate increase of $134.

"That's about the same time that they'll also be asked to pay the new $150 EV tax that the provincial government is looking to introduce as well," Cruickshank said.

"It seems like it's just more costs for EV drivers at a time when we should be going in the opposite direction."

Before approving the proposed rates, the Saskatchewan review panel should consider that the province needs to increase electric vehicle options to reduce emissions from transportation, Cruickshank says.

He said provinces like Prince Edward Island have incentive programs in place that encourage drivers to buy electric.

"Now makes sense as the time for the provincial government to introduce an incentive program to encourage more people to look at electric vehicles to reduce our transportation emissions."

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