ICBC retreats from stiffer fees to punish risky drivers

Rethink must be 'reasonable', not charge more for one ticket

ICBC plans to cut 350 jobs over three years and change how it rewards and punishes drivers on the basis of risk.

ICBC has withdrawn its plan to make drivers with speeding tickets or other recent traffic violations pay more in order to give those with a clean record deeper discounts.

Public Safety Minister Shirley Bond said she ordered the public auto insurer to “go back to the drawing board and rethink the options” for major reforms to the rate structure.

She said any hike in premiums from a single speeding ticket – which ICBC intended – is “not reasonable” but left the door open for changes based on driving records, rather than just at-fault claims.

ICBC president and CEO Jon Schubert said the corporation didn’t adequately communicate the planned changes.

“We apologize for the concern this caused,” he said. “We’re going to take a step back and rethink the options for a reasonable way to share risk, and we’ll do a much better job of gathering public input.”

Province-wide consultations are promised on a range of options.

ICBC had said it intended to make drivers pay more for insurance if they have any traffic tickets within the previous three years.

That was expected to raise the costs for 30 per cent of drivers, while about two-thirds would pay less.

Details weren’t provided but were to be tabled with the B.C. Utilities Commission this summer. The changes, if approved, were to take effect in 2014.

There is no timetable yet for the insurance corporation to unveil possible revised options, nor dates set for expected public meetings.