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B.C. drivers paying highest insurance premiums in Canada

Last Updated Aug 13, 2019 at 12:18 pm PDT

A car drives by an ICBC driver licencing officer. (NEWS 1130 Photo, Sonia Aslam)
Summary

Second place is far behind - drivers in Ontario still pay $300 less than their B.C. counterparts

The VP of the Insurance Bureau of Canada says B.C. needs competition to lower rates

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Drivers in British Columbia are paying the highest insurance premiums in the country – by a substantial amount.

New numbers calculated by the General Insurance Statistical Agency show, on average, drivers in this province are shelling out $1,832 a year. Second place is far behind – drivers in Ontario still pay $300 less than their B.C. counterparts.

Insurance Bureau of Canada Vice President Aaron Sutherland says ICBC’s monopoly has a lot to do with that.

“We need to start asking ourselves if there is another company that can provide this. Most Canadians have the benefit of a competitive marketplace where they can shop around, where they can find those savings.”

He says we need competition to see rates cool down.

“Here in B.C., we have to purchase our basic auto insurance from ICBC, whereas most other Canadians are able to shop around to find the best product at the best possible price.”

Sutherland says while rate changes are underway in B.C., without competition, he doesn’t believe it will do much to reduce the price most drivers pay.

And there doesn’t appear to be a breaking point. Prices are expected to continue rising in the coming years, according to ICBC.

Spokesperson Joanna Linsangan says competition won’t help.

“Whether we have a public or private auto insurance system in B.C., the same underlying problems of a high number of crashes and record-high numbers of claims and costs would still need to be addressed – simply changing to private insurance would not solve these issues,” she says.

“We are taking a different approach here in B.C. to fix the system – we are redirecting money currently going toward legal costs and putting it back into better benefits and improved care for people injured in crashes.”