Uncomfortable ICBC Facts

September 12, 2019 (VANCOUVER) – On September 1, 2019, Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) dramatically changed the way it prices auto insurance. While these changes were designed to make drivers better off, the lack of choice and competition in the market means quite the opposite is true.

“More and more drivers are discovering the uncomfortable truth that, under ICBC’s new rate design, buying auto insurance in BC is growing ever more complex and costly,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). “The pain BC drivers face with ICBC's monopoly isn’t going away. Now, more than ever, the market must be opened to competition and choice to improve the affordability of auto insurance.”

Drivers in BC pay more for auto insurance than anyone else in Canada, on average $1,832. Yet they receive the same amount when they make a claim. Today, they also face many fees and other cost increases that drivers in other provinces do not.

Here are the top 10 uncomfortable facts that drivers face under ICBC’s monopoly:

  1. ICBC now levies an additional $130–$230 per policy if a Learner Driver uses your vehicle. No other insurer in Canada charges these fees, and rates do not typically increase by adding a Learner Driver to a policy.
  2. It now takes 40 years of clean driving to achieve ICBC full discount. Previously, it took 9 years. In other provinces, you can reach the best rate in as little as 10 years.
  3. ICBC only provides a free claim after 20 years of experience and 10 years of accident-free driving. Previously it only took 13 years. In other provinces, you can receive it in as little as 6 years, or purchase it as a feature of your policy.
  4. ICBC now requires you to list anyone who uses your vehicle as little as once a month – including friends, neighbours, and co-workers. 25% of your premium will be based on the driving record of the worst driver listed. In other provinces, you are only required to list household members and employees.
  5. ICBC still hasn’t joined the 21st Century by allowing drivers to purchase or renew their auto policy online. In other provinces, it’s common to purchase and renew online.
  6. ICBC optional premiums now increase with two or more minor convictions (e.g., speeding tickets) or a single major infraction (e.g., distracted or impaired driving). This is similar to other provinces. ICBC also charges Driver Penalty Points Premium (DPP) and Driver Risk Premium (DRP) for these tickets. No private insurer in Canada charges these fees.
  7. ICBC suggests that drivers are the cause of high prices in BC because accidents are out of control. In fact, BC's vehicle collision injury rate is very similar to the Canadian average according to the latest Transport Canada data. Drivers aren’t the cause of higher prices in BC, ICBC’s monopoly is.
  8. ICBC has nearly 6,000 employees. That’s roughly twice the number of staff per policyholders insured by other Canadian insurers, even when accounting for ICBC employees who undertake non-insurance services like driver licensing and registration.
  9. ICBC doesn’t provide discounts for multiple vehicles. In other provinces you can save when you insure more than one vehicle, or when you bundle your home and auto insurance.
  10. Under ICBC’s monopoly, drivers pay more than anyone else in Canada with premiums averaging $1,832. British Columbians pay hundreds more than drivers in Alberta and Ontario, but receive similar amounts when they make a claim. The average injury claim in BC is roughly the same as in Alberta and Ontario, and it's even less than in other provinces.

“Moving to a risk-based pricing model makes sense, as high-risk drivers should pay for the risk they present on our roadways. However, in the process, ICBC has introduced new fees and costs that no other drivers in the country face, making auto insurance in BC even more expensive than it already was,” added Sutherland.

Additional Resources

​About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 128,000 Canadians, contributes $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC's Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @IBC_West and like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC (1-844-227-5422).