FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2003
Consumers' Association Calls On Insurance Corporation of British Columbia To Halt Plan To Increase Rates
OTTAWA, July 6 /CNW/ - The Consumers' Association of Canada called on the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia to halt its plan to implement a discriminatory auto insurance rating system consumers in other Provinces are rejecting. "The rating system the Insurance Corporation of BC is planning on introducing next year is the same one that has harmed consumers in other provinces," said Mr. Mel Fruitman, President of the Association.
"I suggest Premier Campbell call Premier Lord of New Brunswick and ask him what consumers think about New Brunswick's auto insurance system," said Mr. Fruitman. When the voters of New Brunswick were consulted on the issue they gave their system a two-thumbs down in the recent provincial election. As a result, the Lord Government was almost defeated at the polls. "Yet, in British Columbia, ICBC hasn't consulted with consumers and is planning on implementing the same type of system that has caused rate increases of up to 300% for some consumers in the Maritimes".
ICBC has stated that it needs to change its rates in order to become more competitive. "This is nonsense", said Mr. Bruce Cran, President of the BC Chapter of the Consumers' Association, "ICBC already has 90% of the market for so called "optional" insurance - why do they need more?"
The Consumers Association of Canada will soon release a study that compares auto insurance rates across Canada. This study shows that a young male driver with a perfect driving record living in Halifax can pay up to $6000 per year compared to a rate of less than $1000 if they lived in Victoria. "ICBC now plans to implement the same system that exists in Halifax", said Mr. Cran.
"ICBC wants to increase rates on the backs of seniors and students who have never had a crash so these groups can subsidize bad drivers who cause crashes", said Mr. Cran. "Neither Seniors nor Students can afford huge increases in rates and will be forced to stop driving or will drive without insurance. One senior in New Brunswick has been forced to give up her car and now carries her groceries home in a wheelbarrow. Consumers don't want this happening in British Columbia".
"ICBC has clearly lost sight of its mandate to serve the public interests of Consumers and it needs to be instructed by the Government to scrap the proposed discriminatory rating practises", said Mr. Cran. ICBC was set up to provide the best public auto insurance at the lowest possible cost to all drivers. It has provided low, long-term stable rates for over 25 years and the current system is the envy of other provinces. Some provinces are actively considering implementing public auto systems modeled on British Columbia's current system.
For further information: Bruce Cran: (604) 454-7827