Letters: ICBC responds to editorial

President of ICBC defends raise in car insurance rates

RE: ICBC rate increases are unjustified, Sooke News Mirror, September 3, 2014

We understand no one likes the news of a rate increase and we don’t like to have to deliver that news but, the fact is, the cost of injury claims in B.C. continues to grow every year – currently at $1.9 billion a year, up by more than $500 million from just five years ago – and a rate increase is needed to cover these costs.

There have been various factors contributing to the increasing number of injury claims in recent years and one of these can be clearly attributed to the rapidly increasing use of personal electronic devices behind the wheel (other factors include weather and road conditions, volume of pedestrians and cyclists and more relatively minor injury claims).

We agree there are indeed many distractions to us as drivers – both inside and outside the car – but the increase in serious distracted driving related crashes since 2009 is in direct correlation to the mass adoption of smartphones. Distracted driving is now the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C., with an average of 88 people killed each year, and the leading cause of rear-end crashes which often result in injuries.

The prevalence of distracted driving on our roads is also reflected in the fact that police have issued approximately 190,000 tickets for the use of an electronic device while driving since the law came into effect in 2010, showing it’s not just a small percentage of drivers who continue to demonstrate this dangerous driving behaviour.

Of course, drivers who cause crashes do already pay more for their insurance and the proposed rate increase will have an even bigger impact on them. We are also always looking at ways to help reduce crashes and keep insurance cost as low as possible, including getting tougher on drivers who cause crashes.

Mark Blucher

President & CEO

ICBC