BCUC approves ICBC basic rate on interim basis and sets public review process

January 2, 2019

The British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) has approved ICBC’s application for a 6.3 per cent increase to basic insurance rates on an interim basis for all new and renewal policies with an effective date on or after April 1, 2019.

The approval of ICBC’s basic rate change on an interim basis is consistent with past applications and will lessen the depletion of ICBC’s already low basic insurance capital while the BCUC reviews the full application.

There are a number of ways for the public to participate – requesting intervener statussubmitting a letter of comment or registering as an interested party.

The BCUC has also set the regulatory timetable for the review of ICBC’s basic rate application: https://www.bcuc.com/Documents/NewsRelease/2019/2019-01-02-NewsRelease-ICBC-RRA.pdf

REGULATORY TIMETABLE Date (2019)
Intervener Registration Monday, January 21
BCUC Information Request (IR) No. 1 to ICBC Tuesday, February 5
Intervener IR No. 1 to ICBC Thursday, February 14
ICBC responses to BCUC and Intervener IR No. 1 Friday, March 8
Further Process To be determined

At the end of the regulatory process, the BCUC will reach a final decision on ICBC’s basic rate application for policy year 2019. The BCUC will determine how any difference between the approved interim rate and permanent rate will be refunded or collected at the time of its final decision.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Katharine Carlsen, BCUC

Phone: 604.660.4715

Email: Katharine.Carlsen@bcuc.com

New Year’s Resolution – Be a Safe Driving Advocate in 2019

t is back to work for many people today and while many of us have made resolutions for the New Year, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) encourages everyone to put safety first. An easy resolution to make, and keep, is to focus our attention on the road when driving and to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving.

“We applaud the latest efforts of the Government of Ontario to make roads safer for drivers, passengers and pedestrians,” said Kim Donaldson, Vice-President, Ontario, IBC. “Distracted driving has contributed to a greater than 10% increase in the frequency of vehicle damage claims made in the province over the last five years. For safety’s sake, IBC urges you to encourage anyone you know who engages in this risky behaviour to drive more carefully.”

According to the Government of Ontario’s website, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000.  Government data on collisions from 2013 show that one person is injured in a distracted-driving collision every half hour and that a driver using a phone is four times more likely to crash than a driver focusing on the road.

As of January 1st, drivers caught using handheld electronic devices will be fined up to $1,000, get three demerit points and lose their licence for three days. For a second offence within five years, drivers will be fined up to $2,000, penalized six demerit points and lose their licence for six days.

These new, tough measures should make Ontario’s roads safer for all of us, and they are welcome news to IBC and its member auto, home and business insurers.

IBC believes there is more to do to educate people on the very real dangers of distracted driving. Insurers have been working on this since 2007, such as through national public awareness campaigns, which include IBC’s “Leave the phone alone – Don’t text and drive” and #LikeLife campaigns.

Donaldson added, “If there is one resolution you need to keep in 2019, it’s keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. And tell that to your friends and family.  Make this year Ontario’s safest ever.”

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 126,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $54.7 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information: To schedule an interview, please contact: Vanessa Barrasa, Manager, Media Relations, 416-550-9062, vbarrasa@ibc.ca

www.ibc.ca

Should Alberta adopt similar distracted driving legislation as Ontario?

Some Alberta drivers are calling on the province to adopt similar penalties for distracted driving as Ontario.

Stiff penalties passed by the Ontario government came into effect on Jan. 1. Under the new law, an Ontario motorist caught distracted driving for the first time could face a $1,000 fine, three demerit points and a three-day license suspension.

If there are second and third convictions within five years, the fines double and triple, respectively. Each instance would also result in six demerit points. Drivers would lose their licence for seven days upon the second conviction, and 30 days upon the third conviction.

In Alberta, the fine for distracted driving is $287 and three demerits, but some drivers say that is not a steep enough penalty.

“I’ve seen it all … doing their make-up. I don’t care what it is, if you’re going to drive like that, you deserve what you get,” driver Sherry, who didn’t give a last name, said.

“I would support the position that Ontario has taken because I think that distracted driving is incredibly dangerous,” another driver, who didn’t provide a name, said.

According to Alberta Transportation, distracted driving convictions in Alberta have gone down. But the numbers are still significant, with the latest statistics showing 23,546 fines in 2017-2018.

The highest number of offenses (18,659) relate to drivers using handheld devices like phones to communicate while behind the wheel. People have also been caught reading, writing and grooming while driving.

Lee Brooks is a retired class-one commercial driver. He has driven many kilometres on highways and says he has seen multiple collisions because of distracted driving. He wants the penalties to be much stricter across the country.

“I believe fully it should be Canada-wide. As a matter of fact, I don’t even think $1,000 is enough. I think it should be a three-month suspension automatically,” Brooks said.

In November, Manitoba increased its distracted driving fine to nearly $700 and a three-day licence suspension, but so far it has not had an impact on the habits of some drivers.

According to Manitoba Public Insurance, a total of 237 drivers province-wide had their licenses suspended for the minimum three-day period within in the first month of the new penalties coming into place.

Source: Global News

B.C. drivers could be paying more as public auto insurer asks for a rate increase

British Columbia’s drivers could be paying more for auto insurance as the province’s financially troubled public auto insurer asks for a 6.3 per cent rate increase.

The Insurance Corporation of B.C. announced Friday, December 14, 2018 that it wants to the increase basic insurance rates starting April 1, if approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission.

Attorney General David Eby, the minister in charge of the corporation, says the government is undertaking a “historic modernization” of ICBC to make insurance rates more fair for people.

He says the changes will significantly reduce the legal costs associated to minor injury claims and provide enhanced care for people injured in crashes.

Eby says in a statement that the financial “situation was so dire that had the government not moved to stop the bleeding, the rates would have increased by almost 40 per cent.”

The provincial budget forecast a $1.3-billion deficit at the Crown corporation this year and Eby earlier described the situation as a “dumpster fire” inherited from the former government.

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

The flying cars depicted in science fiction classics such as “Blade Runner” and “The Fifth Element” have long been seen as flights of fancy, but their arrival is closer than you think.

At least a dozen companies are prototyping or testing flying cars or passenger drones, according to a Deloitte report from January.

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035, with aerial delivery and inspection services adding on another $42 billion, a study by Porsche Consulting predicts.

Vertical takeoff and landing craft (VTOLs) carry the promise of delivering people and goods across congested urban and suburban areas in a fraction of the time a driver would need, taking cars off the road in the process. But technological and regulatory hurdles remain. And whether aerial vehicles can substantially change commuter behaviour and emissions _ or overcome questions of safety and public perception _ is still up in the air.

Most VTOLs _ or eVTOLs if they are electric-powered _ resemble an oversize drone, sporting a halo of small rotors around a passenger pod and taking off and touching down like a helicopter. But they will be quieter, cheaper and greener than their heli-cousins, experts say.

“Instead of this deep, guttural, penetrating-through-walls sound, you have a much more acceptable sound, similar to a ceiling fan,” said Nikhil Goel, head of product at Uber Technology Inc.’s aviation team, dubbed Uber Elevate.

Uber hopes to start hauling passengers in five-seat, hybrid VTOLs above Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth and a third city outside of the U.S. by 2023.

“The vehicles are real. They’re coming. I think it’s going to be faster than anybody thinks is possible,” Goel said.

He sees the first wave of aerial taxis providing a shuttle service between major airports and downtown vertiports that integrate into the mass transportation system, rather than leapfrogging from block to block _ a hub-to-hub travel option akin to a monorail.

“We are not building this product for the elite,” Goel said.

A few years after the launch of Uber Air, as it’s dubbed, the cost of an aerial trip will be the same as one on the asphalt, he said.

He calculates that an aerial taxi would cut a 90-kilometre commute between the downtowns of San Francisco and San Jose to 15 minutes, down from an hour and 40 minutes.

Uber is not alone in setting its sights on VTOLs. Chinese drone manufacturer Ehang carried out flight tests with a single-passenger drone earlier this year, according to the company’s website. German startup Volocopter has produced an air taxi prototype, taking to the skies above Dubai in 2017. And Kitty Hawk, a California-based company funded by Google founder Larry Page, produced a sleek, one-seat VTOL prototype this year.

Bell (formerly Bell Helicopter), is one of five companies Uber has teamed up with, along with Karem, Pipistrel and aerospace rivals Embraer and Boeing’s Aurora Flight Sciences.

Scott Drennan, Bell’s vice-president of innovation, sees 2025 as a more realistic commercial launch target than Uber’s goal of 2023.

Battery life is one area that needs to advance, with lithium-ion packs today lasting for between 50 and 100 kilometres on a multi-rotor electric propulsion system, he said.

Regulations are another obstacle. To avoid crowding urban skies, VTOLs could trace existing airplane takeoff and landing routes, but at a lower altitude, buzzing along at between 150 and 330 km/h.

Western aviation regulators bar out-of-sight drone operations for the most part. Discussions are ongoing with the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority and the European Aviation Safety Agency, said Drennan, who said he has also met three times with Transport Canada regarding VTOLs.

Mark Cousin, chief executive of Airbus’s A3 unit, stressed the traffic management hurdles on the horizon.

“The vehicle is the easy bit,” he said. “The real challenge lies in integrating thousands of these vehicles into an urban air mobility system within cities.”

A3 has put out an electric-powered VTOL dubbed Vahana. The autonomous prototype launched its first vertical flight in February.

Drones would typically beat other modes of transportation, such as taxis, at distances of 20 kilometres or more in congested areas, according to the Porsche study.

The report notes the technology’s limited potential, stating that it can relieve some pressure from congested urban hot spots _ “but only some.”

“If one tried to solve all traffic problems on the ground by moving into the air, the myriad take-off and landing spots would become the new choke points.”

A city with more than five million inhabitants will likely have no more than 1,000 passenger drones in operation by 2035, the study predicts. That would make a relatively small dent in ground traffic.

Uber cited Los Angeles as an appealing launch city in part because of the abundance of flat roofs there _ a long-standing fire safety regulation required helicopter landing pads atop tall buildings.

“But they’re actually not that well suited, because it’s not just a pickup and drop-off point,” said Robin Lineberger, head of aerospace and defence at Deloitte.

“It has to be a place where people come, get ready to get on the aircraft…the vehicle has to land, recharge, refuel, maybe light maintenance and inspection going on. If you think about it, it really needs to be a small, multi-function airport service area.”

Large parking lots downtown are ripe for conversion into vertiports, complete with conveyor belts, charging stations and hangars, he said.

Insurance would function in ways similar to a helicopter manufacturer or transport service, Lineberger said, with premiums hinging on the probability and severity of accidents.

However, public perception will be an issue for the foreseeable future. Fewer than half of respondents in a Deloitte global survey of 10,000 people this year were convinced that aerial passenger vehicles would be safe, with one-third undecided and one in five disagreeing.

Car thefts on rise in Canada as thieves target trucks, SUVs: insurance board

A new report says thieves are setting their sights on older-model Ford trucks and high-end SUVs as the number of automotive thefts rose again last year.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada said Tuesday, December 11, 2018 in its annual list of the most frequently stolen vehicles that the Ford F250 and F350 trucks dominated the list of most stolen vehicles in 2017.

In Ontario, Chevrolet dominated the list, including older model Tahoes and Silverados. In Quebec, the most stolen vehicle was the 2017 Acura MDX, while in Atlantic Canada the Nissan Maxima was the top pick.

Henry Tso, the board’s vice-president of investigative services, said thieves are going after older model trucks because they have less sophisticated security measures.

“Usually you need the card key information to get the diagnostic to start the car. A lot of the older vehicles, it doesn’t have that, so once you have a key cut you can start the vehicle.”

Thieves are, however, targeting newer vehicles that have key fobs through a technique known as a relay attack, where they use a device to remotely pick up the radio signal coming from the fob to unlock and start the car.

“Right now it’s just trending up right now, it’s fairly new,” said Tso.

To prevent the relay attack, vehicle owners should consider keeping their fob in what’s known as a Faraday sleeve or pouch, which blocks the radio signals, he said.

Many drivers, however, would do well to simply not leave their keys in their vehicles. In Alberta, about 25 per cent of thefts occurred when the keys were in the car, often to keep the vehicle warm, said Tso.

“It’s easily preventable, the 25 per cent, all they have to do is be a little colder in their vehicle.”

Alberta also saw the most thefts, making up about 25,000 of the 85,000 vehicles stolen in 2017 for a nationwide increase of about six per cent.

New Brunswick saw the sharpest rise in thefts with a 28 per cent jump, with Ontario seeing a 15 per cent increase.

The board says New Year’s Day is the most common time for vehicles to be stolen.

But, it says vehicles are often smuggled outside the country, sold to unsuspecting consumers, scrapped for parts or used to commit another crime with organized crime rings usually involved.

The Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada says crime groups involved in auto thefts operate primarily out of Montreal and Toronto.

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