(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

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

The Columbia Valley Wetlands are known for their extensive and fragile ecosystem. (File photo)
Wildsight speaks out against logging in Columbia Wetlands

Located 50 kms south of Golden, the proposed operation was justified as bark beetle management

Residents, especially those with yards with long grass and wooded areas, are encouraged to check themselves and their pets for ticks after being outside. Ticks have reportedly been found in Golden near the pump track. File photo
Ticks found in Golden as spring approaches

Between five and 10 people each year go to hospital in Golden for ticks

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

A North Okanagan man in his late 20s was flown to hospital by air ambulance Saturday, April 17, shortly after 6:30 p.m. after allegedly crashing on his longboard on a Spallumcheen roadway. (File photo)
Suspected longboard crash in Okanagan sends individual to hospital via air ambulance

Accident involved a North Okanagan man in his late 20s on Otter Lake Road in Spallumcheen

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A Kelowna Pride Festival 2019 participant holds up a flag. (Kelowna Pride Society)
Kelowna Pride, RCMP continue to work on ‘Safe Place Program’

A new committee has been formed to refine the ‘Safe Place Program’ created by the Kelowna RCMP

Coldstream Fire Department crews stationed at Kal Lake Provincial Park parking lot on Cosens Bay Road on Sunday, April 18, after a car went over a cliff in the area. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Driver escapes after car goes over North Okanagan cliff

The driver has been transported to hospital with unspecified injuries

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Strange smell at West Kelowna apartment prompts evacuation of 150 residents, pets

150 residents ordered evacuated from a West Kelowna apartment building early Sunday morning

Vernon Vipers goalie Roan Clarke celebrates his team’s 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play shootout win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Saturday, April 17, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Vernon Vipers use shootout to subdue Salmon Arm

Snakes score 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play win at Kal Tire Place

This is what’s left of a truck that caught fire at Pyramid Provincial Park off Highway 97 near Summerland Saturday night. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Photo Gallery: Truck gutted by fire at popular Okanagan park, trees saved

Just a metal shell of what once was a pick up truck is left at the scene

Most Read