ICBC asks for 5.5 percent basic auto rate increase

The insurer says high injury claims costs justifies increase

The ICBC has asked for a 5.5 percent increase in B.C. basic auto rates, down from an earlier potential of 6.7 percent.

The Insurance Corporation of B.C. says that if the increase is approved, customers will pay an average of $3.70 more a month.

A 6.7 percent hike was the highest possible rate that could be approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission under current legislation.

ICBC says government approval of a $450-million transfer of money from the insurer’s optional account to its basic capital account helped lower the increase.

The public auto insurer also says it’s adopting new ways to detect fraud early next year to help quickly flag high predictors of fake claims at the beginning of the process.

“The overwhelming majority of customers make honest claims but exaggerated and fraudulent claims are an increasing issue for all insurers,” Mark Blucher, ICBC’s president and CEO, said in a release. “Analytics technology solutions are an emerging opportunity to help detect and further enhance investigation methods and will be a valuable asset in helping us prevent fraud.”

ICBC justified its latest rate increase citing higher injury claims costs, which topped $2 billion in 2014 to cover payouts for pain and suffering, future care and loss of wages. The insurer anticipates payouts will increase to $2.3 billion this year.

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