But RCMP say people should educate themselves on the law before buying motor-assisted cycles

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Taxi drivers fear proposed insurance increase will put them off the road

By Robert Jones · CBC News

On an ongoing drama of rising car insurance rates unfolding at New Brunswick’s Insurance Board, the consortium of companies that underwrite higher-risk drivers is asking for a premium increase in excess of $1,000 on provincial taxis beginning Jan. 1.

The insurance group, known collectively as the Facility Association, only began implementing its last rate hike on taxis —  an 8.4 per cent increase — earlier this month.

The current proposal is to lift those premiums another 20.2 per cent, which would take the cost of insuring the average cab in New Brunswick to $5,906 per year. That would be $1,069 higher than current levels and $2,000 more than they were as recently as 2017.

George Youssef, the part owner of Checker Cab in Fredericton said the rapid escalation of insurance costs, on top of other operating costs, is a serious problem.

“That’s really a killer,” said Youssef.

“[It] stops people from being able to afford to purchase a vehicle on their own and pay the insurance. I mean you’re talking almost $15,000 to $20,000, depending on the vehicle, just to get a car on the road for one year.”

In Saint John, Shelly Orr with Vet’s Taxi agreed.

“In the taxi industry, they’re going to put a lot of people out of work.  A lot of these guys own their own cars. They can’t afford another insurance increase.”

Just over 400 taxis are insured with the Facility Association in New Brunswick — virtually all the commercial cabs driven in the province.

The association is a collective of every automobile insurer licensed in New Brunswick and by law must cover car owners who can’t get insurance from regular companies.

Last year the group applied for a 21 per cent increase in taxi rates but after a hearing at the Insurance Board it was allowed only a portion of that.

The board questioned whether insurance companies were inflating costs for services they were providing the association and disallowed most of the increase being asked for.

“The [board] finds the applicant’s filing not to be just and reasonable in its entirety,” Insurance Board chair Marie-Claude Doucet wrote in the final decision.

“The panel recognizes that Facility Association is required to pay fees to its servicing carriers. That said, the panel was provided with no evidence indicating whether these fees accurately reflect the actual costs incurred by servicing carriers.”

Insurance industry not deterred

The ruling allowed rates to be raised after Sept. 1 of this year by the reduced amount of 8.4 per cent, but undeterred, the association has returned and asked for another 20.2 percent on top of that beginning in January.

Youssef hopes the Insurance Board is equally tough this time.

“Well, I hope the board gives us whatever it can because I mean the insurance for the vehicle is almost the exact same as the cost of the vehicle,” he said.

A hearing on the application is scheduled to begin Oct. 1.

IBC shares ‘Uncomfortable’ ICBC Facts

VANCOUVER, Sept. 12, 2019 /CNW/ – On September 1, 2019, Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) dramatically changed the way it prices auto insurance. While these changes were designed to make drivers better off, the lack of choice and competition in the market means quite the opposite is true.

“More and more drivers are discovering the uncomfortable truth that, under ICBC’s new rate design, buying auto insurance in BC is growing ever more complex and costly,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific, Insurance Bureau of Canada(IBC). “The pain BC drivers face with ICBC’s monopoly isn’t going away. Now, more than ever, the market must be opened to competition and choice to improve the affordability of auto insurance.”

Drivers in BC pay more for auto insurance than anyone else in Canada, on average $1,832. Yet they receive the same amount when they make a claim. Today, they also face many fees and other cost increases that drivers in other provinces do not.

“Moving to a risk-based pricing model makes sense, as high-risk drivers should pay for the risk they present on our roadways. However, in the process, ICBC has introduced new fees and costs that no other drivers in the country face, making auto insurance in BC even more expensive than it already was,” added Sutherland.

Additional Resources
Full report on how competition can save drivers up to $325 annually: Benefits of Competition in the Provision of Automobile Insurance in BC 
Poll: Auto Insurance Attitudes in BC 
To learn more, visit: BetterAutoInsuranceBC.ca

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 128,000 Canadians, contributes $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @IBC_West and like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC (1-844-227-5422).

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

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Drivers will be responsible for making sure their phone can display the proof of insurance, even with a poor signal, drained battery or damaged screen.  (Lars Hagberg/Canadian Press)

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Distracted driving remains top priority for ICBC, police and government

Distracted driving remains top priority for ICBC, police and government

Distracted driving is responsible for more than one in four fatal crashes on B.C. roads, which is why ICBC, police and government continue to combat this dangerous driving behaviour that claims 77 lives each year.*

Crashes reached a record high in 2017, with many of these caused by distracted or inattentive driving. While cellphone usage rightly gets a lot of the attention, distracted driving includes any activity that impacts your ability to focus on the road while in control of a vehicle.

The B.C. government, police and ICBC conduct two distracted driving education and enhanced enforcement campaigns every year. The campaigns also include advertising and social media support.

This month, drivers will be hearing one message – take a break from your phone when you’re behind the wheel. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for as little as two seconds is strongly correlated with crashing.

Enhanced police enforcement of distracted driving will take place across B.C., including a province-wide blitz on Friday, and community volunteers are setting up Cell Watch deployments to remind drivers to leave their phone alone when driving.

Drivers can do their part by avoiding distractions while driving and encouraging others to do the same. Activate Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving feature or what’s similarly available on other devices. Free ‘not while driving’ decals are available at ICBC driver licensing offices and participating Autoplan broker offices for drivers to support the campaign and encourage other road users to leave their phones alone.

As part of the commitment to make roads safer, ICBC is currently inviting eligible drivers to participate in a telematics pilot project. The goal is to determine whether using this technology can improve road safety and driving behaviour for inexperienced drivers in B.C.

You can view tips and statistics in an infographic at icbc.com, and register for the pilot project at icbc.com/techpilot.


Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee

“Distracted driving is the number one cause of serious crashes in our province and it continues to be a growing safety concern. To combat this problem, police will be out on the road – in every community – making sure people leave their phones alone while driving.”

Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s Vice-President Public Affairs

“Our telematics pilot project will help us better understand the role that technology can play in reducing distraction and preventing crashes for inexperienced drivers. But safer roads start with every driver making a conscious decision to focus on the road and leave their phones alone. Let’s all do our part to create a safer driving culture in B.C.”

Regional statistics*:

  • Every year, on average, 27 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Lower Mainland.

  • Every year, on average, 10 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes on Vancouver Island.

  • Every year, on average, 28 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Southern Interior.

  • Every year, on average, 13 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the North Central region.

*Police data from 2013 to 2017. Distraction: where one or more of the vehicles involved had contributing factors including use of communication/video equipment, driver inattentive and driver internal/external distraction.

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