ICBC to reward good drivers, punish the bad

Details so far sketchy on new carrot-and-stick insurance discount system

Speeders and other ticketed traffic violators may pay more for their auto insurance so drivers with a clean record can get deeper discounts.

That’s part of a major overhaul of ICBC proposed by the public auto insurer that includes the shedding of 350 jobs.

The changes are subject to approval by regulators.

But the biggest move is a shift to a driving record model for calculating premium discounts, instead of relying solely on the at-fault claims history.

Discounts now top out at 43 per cent for drivers with a long claims-free record.

ICBC spokesman Mark Jan Vrem said it should cost less for someone with a clean driving record and no traffic tickets over the previous three years.

Drivers with violation tickets in that period would pay more than they do now, even if they have no claims.

“We think it’s unfair for the good drivers to be subsidizing the rates for the bad drivers,” Jan Vrem said.

But he was unable to show how that would impact various drivers, saying details of the new discount framework are still being worked out.

Nor is it clear whether the new system will replace ICBC’s relatively new Driver Risk Premium (DRP) system that already dings motorists nabbed for drunk driving and excessive speeding.

Introduced in 2009, that system was heralded as a way to make high-risk drivers pay more, even ones who don’t own or insure a vehicle.

It charges motorists an extra $320 per year for three years if caught excessive speeding. And a never-implemented second phase was supposed to charge drivers $350 per year if they rack up three or more lesser traffic tickets.

While the DRP system charges more for risky drivers, Jan Vrem said that money doesn’t yet directly go to reducing good drivers’ premiums.

“They don’t provide the kind of break a good driver should get for their good driving habits,” he said. “We think offering our customers a carrot instead of just a stick is more appropriate.”

Jan Vrem said details of the changes, including revisions to the DRP system, will be filed with the B.C. Utilities Commission this summer.

ICBC expects opponents will try to convince regulators to reject the plan on the basis that speeders shouldn’t be punished if they have no accidents.

Jan Vrem said the corporation will be ready to counter those and other arguments.

If approved, the changes would take effect in 2013 or 2014, he said.

Speeding tickets racked up now would affect insurance discounts then, he said, urging motorists to slow down and drive safely.

The rate changes will be revenue-neutral, he said, and won’t result in any more money going to the provincial government, which takes $145 million a year from ICBC’s reserves.

Billed as a modernization of the corporation, ICBC is promising a more tailored experience for its customers, with more ability to file claims online or by phone.

A document outlining the changes says ICBC must change to succeed in the future, in part because customers don’t trust the corporation and sees it as “distant and bureaucratic.”

The 350 jobs to be reduced in the claims division by the end of 2014 will include 70 management positions and will all be phased in through attrition.

“ICBC has a complex organization structure that has as many as seven layers of management between the CEO and frontline workers,” the document says, and that in future there will be no more than five or six layers of managers and supervisors, depending on the division.

It says there are no immediate plans to outsource more work but there will be some consolidation of office space.

Just Posted

Port Alberni Black Sheep fall to Surrey Beavers in rugby action

Three tries late in the second half cemented the win for Beavers

Addiction should be treated, not criminalized, say health professionals

Port Alberni Shelter Society forum talks opioid crisis

‘Hello, 911? There’s a horse in my living room’

Sproat Lake firefighters called to ‘rescue’ quarter-horse from Alberni Valley house

Drivers’ bad habits on Port Alberni RCMP’s radar

Seatbelt, cellphone violations handed out in distracted driving campaign

City of Port Alberni takes over McLean Mill pond project

Alberni Valley Enhancement Society received grant for work that went sideways

AFN national chief suggests moving Trans Mountain pipeline route

Perry Bellegarde said many Indigenous communities believe in the need to diversify export markets

VIDEO: a close-up look at what you were breathing during the wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Island man calls 911 after being robbed of his drugs

Nineteen-year-old and 15-year-old suspects face multiple charges following robbery Monday in Nanaimo

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

B.C. could provide clues as to how New Brunswick electoral results shake out

Premier Christy Clark faced a strikingly similar scenario following the province’s 2017 election

Ottawa working to iron out kinks in public alert system

The alerts are being credit with saving lives during last week’s tornadoes

Premier John Horgan ponders debate on voting system changes

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson wants one-on-one, no Green

Saganash drops F-bomb in Commons over federal approach to Trans Mountain

NDP’s reconciliation critic accused federal government of ‘wilfully’ violating constitutional duties

B.C. cancer patient denied chemo due to condition of homeless shelter

Victoria housing and health advocates say this isn’t an isolated case

Most Read