The District of Sicamous is endorsing a UBCM resolution hoping to bring private competition for ICBC to the B.C. insurance market. (File Photo)

Sicamous challenges ICBC auto insurance rates, pushes for competition

District research finds cost of basic insurance more in B.C. than in other provinces

The District of Sicamous wants to see more options for consumers in B.C.’s auto insurance market.

Sicamous council approved a resolution requesting that auto insurance in the province be opened up to private competition; the resolution will be passed on to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM).

The resolution, passed by council at their May 22 meeting, states that ICBC, a Crown corporation, charges B.C. drivers the highest average car insurance rates in Canada.

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Drawing on research from 2017 that found ICBC charged, on average, higher rates than other markets, the resolution recommends UBCM work with the provincial government to open the basic auto insurance market to the private sector, creating a more competitive market.

The 2017 research shows a wide variety of annual insurance rates across Canada. Six provinces rely entirely on private insurers for car insurance. The average rate in Alberta is $1,251 annually and Ontario drivers pay $1,445 annually. The Maritime provinces have some of the lowest prices in the country with insurance averaging $819 in Nova Scotia, $796 in Prince Edward Island and $1,132 in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba have government-owned insurers with a monopoly over basic auto insurance; the government insurers compete with the private sector in the market for optional insurance coverage. The average rate in Saskatchewan is $936 and the rate in Manitoba is $1,080.

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The 2017 research Sicamous’ resolution draws on states B.C. drivers paid an average rate of $1,680 annually.

ICBC enacted an interim 6.3 per cent increase to their insurance rates on April 1, 2019.


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jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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