(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

The Trail Smoke Eaters fell 6-1 to the Penticton Vees on Sunday, their third loss to the perennial BCHL powerhouse six games into the 20-game season. Photo: Stephen Piccolo
Penticton Vees dominant in win over Trail Smoke Eaters

Trail Smoke Eaters enjoy two day break until their fourth meeting with Penticton Vees on Wednesday

Kalesnikoff Lumber will be providing materials for a 21-storey apartment building in Vancouver. Rendering: Henriquez Partners Architects
Kalesnikoff supplying mass timber for several major projects

The West Kootenay lumber company will be making the products at South Slocan facility

This painting is a piece from Young Visions 2021, opening April 22 at the Kootenay Gallery. Photo: S. Painter
Showcase of artwork by Kootenay Columbia students opens April 22

Young Visions 2021 runs April 22 to May 29 in the Kootenay Gallery of Art, Castlegar

Selkirk College has received provincial funding to assist students. File photo
Selkirk College receives funding to assist students

Provincial funding is available to West Kootenay students

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Tenants disappear in the night leaving Okanagan home trashed with junk, feces

Spallumcheen rental rooms filled with junk, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to register people ages 40+ for COVID-19 vaccines in April

Appointments are currently being booked for people ages 66 and up

Interior Health improves access to mental health supports amid COVID-19 pandemic. (Stock)
Interior Health connects people to mental health resources amid COVID

310-MHSU line receives positive feedback in early months of rollout

A volunteer disinfects a historical Mohabat Khan mosque ahead of the upcoming Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)
For Canadian Muslims, second pandemic Ramadan is a time of hope and sadness

Many members of the association are trying to find ways ‘to help people stay connected to one another’

Most Read