VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – B.C. drivers are getting the short end of the stick according to a new report comparing insurance rates here and in Alberta.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada says this shows even with changes coming to ICBC’s model and payouts in April and driver rates in September the benefits are similar but the cost is not.
“The value for insurance dollars simply isn’t there in this,” says Aaron Sutherland with the bureau.
Sutherland says B.C. drivers paid hundreds more annually when comparing rates based on the same driver profile and the same vehicle, despite most factors being the same.
“Both B.C. and Alberta, the claims people are receiving, the value of the claims is very similar between the two provinces yet the price we are paying for auto insurance is very, very different,” he adds.
Even when taking into account new rates for good drivers coming in September, Sutherland says B.C. drivers still paid more than those in Alberta.
“They factored that in and even under B.C.’s new rate design you’re still going to be paying far, far less than in Alberta for similar coverage as you do in British Columbia.”
Sutherland says while Alberta’s system isn’t perfect and rate caps present challenges for some providers – drivers are far better off with a competition for service there than one option here.
He says Alberta’s system isn’t perfect but looking at the cost for benefit B.C. drivers are losing.
‘It’s apples to oranges’
Head of ICBC Nicholas Jimenez says it’s not apple to apples, it’s apples to oranges. He says there are a number of areas B.C. drivers come out ahead…
“Six times the level of accident benefits,” he says. “In Alberta it’s 50,000, in B.C. it’s up to 300,000. Your weekly wage benefits are nearly double here in British Columbia. Your death benefits are triple.”
Jimenez says he is keenly aware of the uphill battle ICBC is facing which is why they are making massive changes this year.
These include caps on claims, use of expert testimony and what he calls re-balancing rates in the fall.
The province and corporations banking on these changes turning around billion dollar losses over the last few years.
-With files from Jon Szekeres