The April 17, 2014 article Business As Usual at ICBC: How to Have your Cake and Eat it Too made reference to the ICBC application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (“BCUC”) for a 4.9% basic insurance rate increase in August of 2013. At that time, ICBC justified the need for a rate increase by blaming personal injury lawyers. For a comment on this dubious justification, see the September 10, 2013 article: ICBC versus those Damn Lawyers.
It is unlikely BC drivers were shocked that ICBC’s application for a rate increase was approved—history suggests that BCUC approval to ICBC rate increase applications is just a formality—what was shocking (to BC drivers at least) is the fact the application for a 4.9% increase was approved with a 5.2% increase. What?
What indeed. Most BC drivers are using stronger language to voice their disbelief as ICBC has recently applied for another basic insurance rate increase. The amount “applied” for approval this time is 5.2%, and the justification is a “spike” in injury claims due to distracted driving. In case you haven’t been keeping track, this amounts to a more than 20% increase in basic insurance rates since 2012.
Before you start feeling sorry for ICBC and the hard times it has fallen upon, take a look at its most recent “Service Plan” here. ICBC is projecting nearly $1 Billion in profits from 2013 to 2016. It is also interesting to note that the BC Government plans to collect an average of $160 Million from ICBC annually over this period to “support core government services”.
ICBC was established in 1973 to provide universal car insurance to BC drivers. Its core principles and values were based around simplifying the insurance process and providing coverage at the lowest cost as stewards of the public interest. It is debatable whether its mandate was intended to change from non-profit crown corporation to for-profit revenue generator (read: cash cow). In a 2012 survey conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, BC drivers ranked ICBC the worst automobile insurer in Canada. It is highly unlikely ICBC’s popularity with BC drivers has increased over the last two years. The Consumers Association of Canada (BC Branch) has published an interesting report on their website entitled “A Consumers’ Perspective to Fixing ICBC: 15 Recommendations To Put British Columbians Back In The Driver’s Seat” which can be viewed here.
Has ICBC lost sight of its core principles and values?
Are BC drivers getting value for their money?
Is ICBC living up to its most recent mission statement “building trust. driving confidence.” (note the deliberate use of lower case letters. Fosters a friendly, less “corporate-y” feel, don’t you think)?
Most importantly, should BC drivers have the right to shop around for car insurance?
What do you think?
Einfeld Law is a highly knowledgeable and experienced BC personal injury law firm specializing in motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other negligence claims involving bodily injury. We have successfully litigated many ICBC and other insurance claims, including out of province, wrongful death, brain injury, spinal cord injury, whiplash, soft tissue injury, and all other bodily injury claims. We have collected millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. We never act for ICBC or other insurance companies.