ICBC, the insurance overlord of the province, might be hiking basic insurance rates at the end of October due to what they say is an influx of fraudulent claims.
The hike would likely be about 6.7 per cent “in large part due to the unexpected and rapid escalation in the number of injury claims being reported to us in recent months,” said ICBC President Mark Blucher in a statement.
In 2014, ICBC launched 3,200 investigations into potentially fake or exaggerated claims, more than any other year. Around 7,000 more injury claims have gone through ICBC than this time last year, representing a total of 68,000.
Claim payouts topped $2 billion in 2014 and are expected to climb to $2.3 billion for 2015.
The insurance corporation is working with the provincial government to try and mitigate basic rate hikes as much as possible.
“If left unmitigated, rates could increase by as much as 6.7% for basic insurance. We believe that that’s not acceptable and that the rate can and should be lower than that,” said Transportation Minister Todd Stone.
“We’ve said to ICBC 6.7 per cent is too high. That is not what we would deem to be affordable. That is not what British Columbians would deem to be affordable, and so that’s why ICBC’s management, their board, the province of British Columbia, with the support of folks like Gord Macatee – We’re doing everything that we can to get that rate down as much as we possibly can.”
The goal is to get the rate hike down to around 3.9 per cent or lower.
ICBC told Vancity Buzz that they will be doling out hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of claims following the huge windstorm over the weekend that saw trees toppling onto cars. The corporation requires people to have a step up from basic coverage in order to cover the damage costs from acts of nature.
“Certainly it’s going to be an expensive weekend in terms of insurance claims, which is unfortunate, but we’ve had very few reports of people being injured,” ICBC spokesman Adam Grossman said.