Friday, August 30, 2013

ICBC wants to hike rates by 4.9%, blames soaring injury claims

Larry Pynn and Mike Hager, Vancouver Sun August 30, 2013 
Buffeted by escalating costs for bodily injury claims, ICBC announced Friday it is applying to the B.C. Utilities Commission for a 4.9-per-cent hike in basic insurance rates effective Nov. 1. The increase would be about $36 a year for an average driver with only basic insurance. However, for the roughly 80 per cent of motorists who purchase ICBC’s full vehicle insurance, the average increase would equate to about $11 a year, or less than $1 a month, according to the corporation’s interim president and CEO Mark Blucher. That’s because the increase is offset by a decrease of four per cent in the optional premium, due to a downturn in auto crime and the cutting of employee costs. ICBC eliminated more than 260 jobs late last year, most of them from a management group that ballooned almost 41 per cent from 2007 to 2011, according to a government audit last August. After the audit, then-CEO Jon Schubert — who earned $486,541 in pay and bonuses in 2011 — resigned. “No one likes an increase in costs,” Blucher said in an interview. “We’ve been very focused to keep the net increase as small as possible.” The basic insurance premium may increase because bodily injury costs hit $1.86 billion in 2012, up more than $165 million from the previous year and more than $400 million from five years ago, according to the corporation. (more)

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