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New ICBC rate system causing confusion for drivers

ICBC claims centre sign. (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 photo)
Summary

There has been an increase in drivers who say they don't understand why estimates suddenly change when it's time to pay

Market conditions are being used to adjust optional rates, that's why some drivers are now noticing those price drops

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) –┬áIf you’re confused about ICBC’s new system for calculating rates, you’re not alone.

There has been an increase in drivers who say they don’t understand why estimates quoted online or by phone suddenly change when it’s time to pay.

Chuck Byrne, the Executive Director of the Insurance Brokers of BC, says prices don’t fluctuate day to day, but he admits the new process, which is only a few weeks old, can be confusing.

“For them to change even day-to-day or week-to-week is pretty rare,” he says. ” With the current launch only being five-six weeks old on the new pricing system, some tweaks may occur. It’s something that’s somewhat evolutionary.”

In some cases, the cost of coverage for the same level of insurance has dropped only five days after the driver received a quote at a higher price.

“The reality is until the actual transaction is completed, there’s no absolute price that’s been set and determined,” Byrne adds. “There is a lot of criteria that have to be considered and that’s done during the transaction itself. Estimates are helpful, but they are just estimates.”

Byrne says because market conditions are being used to adjust optional rates, some drivers are now noticing those price drops.

“The estimates can differ and people should remember that they are estimates,” he says. “It’s very possible that someone may have had a quote, you know, last week or a day or two earlier and then seeing things different and in this case, the fact that it went down is good news.”

ICBC staff say, like private insurers, market conditions are used to adjust optional rates with prices based on matching ongoing cost pressures for claims.

Under changes introduced last month, drivers who believe rates are not fair are encouraged to contact ICBC or file a complaint with the province’s Ombudsman.