(The Canadian Press files)

(The Canadian Press files)

Northerners paying disproportionate ICBC premiums compared to claim costs: FOI data

Ratio of premiums paid to claims received is $1.96 for north compared to $1.35 for Lower Mainland

ICBC has released postal-code specific data comparing how much drivers pay in auto insurance premiums to funds paid out in settlements and it is not good news for rural policy holders – those in the North in particular.

From 2014 to 2019, rural motorists paid $1.84 for every dollar received in settlements. That’s compared to $1.35 for rate payers in the Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island. In urban centres, such as Nanaimo, Prince George, Fraser Valley, Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows, Kelowna and Kamloops, rate payers dolled out $1.45.

ICBC’s break-even point is $1.33.

Darcy Repen has been working on the issue of disparity between urban and rural policy holders since he was mayor of Telkwa, from 2014 to 2018. Over the past two years, he has been responsible for a Freedom of Information request campaign that led to the release of the data by Canada Post Forward Sortation Areas (FSA), which are groupings of regions based on postal codes.

“It confirms exactly what we had anticipated, which is that we’re paying significantly more than the Lower Mainland,” he said.

READ MORE: ICBC gets green light to slash insurance rates by 15% starting in May

While drivers in the big urban centres do pay higher rates, Repen has always said the disparity in the ratio of premiums versus claims amounts to a subsidy by rural drivers compared to urban ones.

Repen broke it down even further for the members of the North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA), which includes all of the communities north of 100 Mile House.

In a letter addressed to the mayors, chairs and CAOs, he noted northern policy holders paid an average $1.96 for every dollar received over the six-year period covered in the FOI request.

Haida Gwaii motorists topped the list with $42.2 million in premiums and only $15.0 million in claims, a ratio of $2.82 for every dollar.

Dawson Creek was second highest, at $2.29.

Even Prince George policy holders paid an average of $1.89 per settlement dollar received, higher than the average for rural drivers, even though the city is classified as an urban centre.

For the V0J postal code area — which includes Smithers, Telkwa and the Hazeltons and everything north to Telegraph Creek and east to Vanderhoof – the average was $2.15.

READ MORE: ICBC opens online calculator for rate savings starting in May

The B.C. NDP is currently touting a 20 per cent savings on insurance rates across the board following legislation last spring that takes minor claims process out of the court system.

In December 2020, the provincial insurer applied to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) for a 15 per cent decrease.

Repen says that is all fine and good, but does not address the issue of disparity.

The application is currently before the BCUC and Repen has been granted intervenor status. In his submissions to the BCUC, he questions the fairness of a blanket 15 per cent reduction and calls for a revamping of the insurer’s rating algorithm to take into account rural versus urban, by rate territory and by FSA.

While the BCUC has already approved the 15 per cent general decrease, how that is ultimately applied is the subject of the ongoing proceedings and Repen hopes to make progress on that front.

“In their workshop, (ICBC) tried to shut down opening the door to discussing territorial rate differential,” he said. “A real win right off the bat is they were denied that limitation of scope. In fact, the BC Utility Commission themselves in their information request opened the door to discussing territorial rate differential.”

ICBC

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Village council saw an application to build a seven foot fence around a 3rd Ave. property in Nakusp. (Jocelyn Doll-Revelstoke Review)
Village of Nakusp sees application for seven foot fence

Council raised concerns about curb appeal

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Tala MacDonald, a 17-year-old student at Mount Sentinel Secondary who is also a volunteer firefighter, has won the $100,000 Loran Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
West Kootenay student wins $100K scholarship

Tala MacDonald is one of 30 Canadians to receive the Loran Scholarship

Kristian Camero and Jessica Wood, seen here, co-own The Black Cauldron with Stephen Barton. The new Nelson restaurant opened earlier this month while indoor dining is restricted by the province. Photo: Tyler Harper
A restaurant opens in Nelson, and no one is allowed inside

The Black Cauldron opened while indoor dining is restricted in B.C.

First-year Selkirk College student Terra-Mae Box is one of many talented writers who will read their work at the Black Bear Review’s annual (virtual) launch on April 22. Photo: Submitted
In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
80-million-year-old turtle find on B.C. river exciting fossil hunters

Remains of two-foot creature of undetermined species will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Joudelie King wants to get out and live life to the fullest, but there are places she can’t go because they don’t meet her accessibility needs. (submitted photo)
New online tool provides accessibility map for people with disabilities

The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for nearly 1,000 locations in the province

British Columbia’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Wildfire fanned by winds near Merritt prompts evacuation alert

BC Wildfire Service says the suspected human-caused blaze was fanned by winds

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
National fitness group condemns unlicensed Kelowna gym’s anti-vaccine policy

The Fitness Industry Council of Canada says Flow Academy is shining a negative light on the industry

Most Read