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Flimsy Financials: Northern B.C. drivers pay disproportionate ICBC premiums

Victoria, British Columbia — The agents of chaos and mischief over at ICBC have released a new dataset that compares auto insurance rates in British Columbia by postal code and in a surprise to no one, the north is shelling out the most to be blessed with the Crown insurer’s (mandatory) coverage.

Starting from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia’s (ICBC) break-even point of $1.33 paid by the customer per dollar returned via settlement, the average rate paid among B.C.’s rural drivers sits at $1.84; a considerable 49 cents higher than the $1.35 paid by most drivers in the lower mainland and southern Vancouver Island.

Darcy Repen, the mayor of Telkwa, a small town in the northwest of the province, has been fighting for years to close the gap in rates paid between urban and rural drivers and says that this news from ICBC comes as no surprise.

“It confirms exactly what we had anticipated, which is that we’re paying significantly more than the Lower Mainland,” said Repen.

When Repen breaks down the numbers, he is able to show that when considering the amount rural and northern drivers pay, as compared to the amount they contribute to the overall amount ICBC is forced to dish out in settlement claims, they’re getting the raw end of the deal.

Repen found that on average, northern policy-holders pay about $1.96 per dollar returned, with the island of Haida Gwaii topping the list at a rate of $2.82 per dollar returned.

ICBC was approved for a general 15 percent rate decrease in December, however, Repen knows that that is not what is needed to fix the disparity.

“In their workshop, (ICBC) tried to shut down opening the door to discussing territorial rate differential,” said Repen.

“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.”

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