Ombudsperson able to receive complaints as ICBC’s new rate model takes effect

Jay Chalke
Jay Chalke

AS ICBC’s new insurance rate model comes into effect September 1, the BC Ombudsperson is reminding vehicle owners that his office can investigate complaints about ICBC.

“Vehicle owners should take a close look at their next insurance policy to ensure the information being considered by ICBC in determining their renewal rate, such as accident history, is accurate,” said Ombudsperson Jay Chalke. “We recommend that vehicle owners try to solve their problems directly with ICBC and its agents first, but if they still believe they have been treated unfairly, our investigators may be able to look more closely at individual complaints.”

ICBC’s new driver-based rate model will assess premiums based on each driver’s 10-year driving history. Crashes will now follow the driver, not the vehicle. ICBC states that the pending changes are meant to reward safe drivers and to hold drivers with at-fault crashes and serious driving convictions accountable.

“This is a major overhaul of how insurance premiums are calculated,” said Chalke. “ICBC has indicated that under the new scheme some insurance rates will go up, others down. As ICBC implements this new scheme, it is important that ICBC treats customers fairly, which includes accurately calculating how the new rate scheme is being applied in individual circumstances and explaining that calculation to policy holders.”

ICBC has added an online rate estimator to its website www.icbc.com. The rate roll-out will happen over the next year as vehicle owners renew their insurance policy or purchase a new policy.

“There is no question that these are significant changes, and in our experience, whenever we see largescale changes being applied by public bodies in practice, fairness issues arise,” said Chalke. “I encourage ICBC to learn from their experience as the new rate structure is implemented and make necessary adjustments to improve fairness in real time.”

The BC Ombudsperson receives 7,000 to 8,000 complaints and enquires from the public each year. ICBC is the top non-government organization that people complain to the office about. The Ombudsperson is independent from government and impartially investigates complaints of unfairness about a wide range of public sector entities including crown corporations such as ICBC and BC Hydro, BC provincial government ministries, municipal governments, health authorities and public schools and universities. The Ombudsperson’s services are free and confidential.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I renewed my ICBC auto insurance on August 28, 2019 and wish to express my anger and disappointment in the government’s contention that ICBC is rewarding good drivers while charging ‘bad’ drivers more. This is absolute nonsense – I am 65 years old (earlier when I turned 65 this year, my premium went down), with a clean driving record meaning no accidents and no traffic tickets! In renewing my insurance this year, it went up by $120 per year!! I purchased and currently still own a 2016 KIA Soul on October 1, 2015 and currently have 17,123 original kilometers on it – if one does the mat, that’s 4,467 kilometers per year! I registered this mileage with the broker so I may qualify for the ‘low kilometer’ discount for next year – the broker asked if this is the first time I’m applying for this discount – I was under the impression that this discount didn’t come into affect until September 2019. If the discount was available for previous years, I should then receive the discount. Nevertheless, I’m extremely upset with the NDP and ICBC – it’s time BC opens up the competition for private insurance! No more monopoly, and lies!!!

  2. Looks like broker was not trained to pass on the correct information. The low mileage discount will be applied only after you have recorded your vehicle’s mileage along with your insurance renewal. So when you passed on this information during your recent renewal, it’s now recorded in the system. Next year when you will go to renew your insurance, if your car mileage is less than 5000 kms, you will get a 10% discount.
    Please note that this is a new discount in effect from April 1, but customers will get the benefit only during their next year’s renewal. This year the system is just recording the mileage, but not passing on any benefits.

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