B.C. Awareness Campaign Complements Rate Decrease

There are no excuses for drinking and driving and the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, in a partnership initiative with the province’s police forces, are taking that message province-wide.

The annual, summer season campaign was launched under the banner, Drinking Driving CounterAttack and the program is touted to have markedly reduced alcohol-related fatalities in the province over the years. With the Olympic Games on the horizon, the province aims to have the safest roads by the year it plays host to the world in 2010.

Impaired driving remains “the number one criminal cause of death in Canada,” affirms Mike Chadwick, deputy chief of the Saanich city police and president of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police.

The campaign complements the ICBC’s good-news announcement that policies will be reduced for optional auto coverage for drivers in the province, effective July 1.

Of the 2.6 million private vehicle insurance customers, 1.8 million or 71 per cent will see their rates for collision, comprehensive and additional protection fall at least slightly; for some, as much as $50 to $100 or more.

“Overall insurance rates for B.C. drivers continue to be low and stable,” says Geri Prior, ICBC’s president and C.E.O.

That’s not quite the case next door in Alberta where the province tried to cap rates on claims for soft-tissue injuries to $4000. The cap has been successfully challenged in a case heard at Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench.

As a result, insurers have been pressing for a 37 per cent increase during early summer consultations while he auto insurance rate board has hired an actuary who will make final recommendations on a rate hike – if any – that will take effect in November.

The province of New Brunswick is also appealing a court decision that similarly struck down its $2,500 cap on minor injury claims.

The province has announced that unless its appeal is successful, insurance rates for drivers could jump by $250 per year.

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