B.C. government says demand, safety behind long awaited riding hailing plan

Ride-hailing companies could begin operations in British Columbia by next fall under legislation introduced November 19, 2018.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says the government’s bill strikes a balance between meeting consumer demand and protecting public safety.

Among other things, the bill would give the Passenger Transportation Board the power to accept applications and set terms and conditions for licences covering taxis and ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.

It would also set rates and determine the number and coverage areas of the services.

The legislation would see the creation of a legislative committee to review and make changes to the system as well.

Green Leader Andrew Weaver says the NDP’s bill is a step forward, but he questions why the government has chosen to require driver training and class four licences rather than class five, which he says have been used successfully in Quebec.

Trevena says the experience of other jurisdictions has been used to develop British Columbia’s legislation, which is aimed at preventing gridlock, maintaining ridership on public transit, and reducing accidents caused by unsafe or inexperienced drivers.

Vancouver is one of the few major cities in Canada that does not permit ride-hailing.

The New Democrats, Liberals and Greens promised to bringing in ride-hailing during the 2017 provincial election campaign.

An all-party committee of the legislature made 32 recommendations last February to help pave the way for ride-hailing.

The report highlighted five key areas that needed to be considered when establishing regulations for the industry including pricing, insurance, licensing, and public safety. The committee also recommended updating legislation that regulates the taxi industry to “allow for equitable and fair competition.”

China’s largest ride-hailing firm has launched a research facility in Toronto, its second in North America.

Didi Chuxing says it officially launched DiDi Labs, which follows the establishment of a lab in Mountain View, Calif. in March 2017.

The California facility has worked on product development and safety technology for DiDi’s international operations in Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Japan and Greater China.

The new DiDi Labs in Toronto will focus on research into intelligent driving and artificial intelligence.

It will be led by Jun Yu, who the company describes as a pioneer of China’s consumer app industry and who has been responsible for creating many of China’s leading internet products.

The company, which acquired Uber China, offers app-based transportation options for 550 million users, including taxi, bus, bike-sharing, car-sharing and foot delivery. More than 31 million driver use its platform.

Study reveals older B.C. drivers paying through the nose to subsidize younger motorists

Alan Campbell | Richmond News

Hardly a day goes by without hearing someone complain about paying more for auto insurance in B.C. than most places in Canada and, indeed, the western world.

According to a study released Thursday by the Fraser Institute – an “independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank” – drivers in the province pay higher auto insurance rates, in part, because ICBC doesn’t fully account for age when setting rates.

As such, according to the study, it uses driver premiums to pay for non-insurance related costs.

In August, in a bid to temper the disparity, the B.C. government announced changes to lower insurance costs for good drivers by up to $100 and raise costs for drivers with poor records.

“The government’s recent changes are welcome, but they don’t go far enough to fix our fundamentally flawed system that punishes safer drivers with higher rates to subsidize riskier drivers,” said John Chant, Fraser Institute senior fellow, professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser University and author of Understanding Why Basic Auto Insurance Rates in BC Are So High.

The study found that because ICBC — the only provider of mandatory basic insurance coverage in the province — sets rates without regard for age or gender, young drivers (between the ages of 16 and 24) pay more than $800 less than they would if rates reflected estimated accident experience.

In fact, all drivers under the age of 35 pay less than they otherwise would as a result.

Conversely, drivers over the age of 35 — particularly drivers between 45 and 64 — pay hundreds more in higher premiums than if rates reflected estimated accident experience.

In fact, drivers between 55 and 64 pay $228 more per year due to ICBC’s rate structure.

And, according to the study, it’s not just the rate structure that leads to high insurance costs.

ICBC also administers non-insurance related activities including driver testing, driver and vehicle licensing and fine collection, which are paid for by insurance premiums and add an estimated $50 to every driver’s insurance policy per year.

“It’s important that B.C. drivers understand why basic auto insurance is so expensive in this province as reforms are proposed and introduced,” added Chant.

The Richmond News reached out to ICBC for comment. No reply was received at the time of publication.

IBC Supports Ontario Government’s Review of Auto Insurance Rate Regulation

In today’s Fall Economic Statement, the Ontario government committed to cut red tape in the auto insurance system to benefit consumers.

“We congratulate the government on working to create the type of insurance system that is long overdue,” said Kim Donaldson, Vice-President, Ontario, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). “Consumers are looking for more common-sense innovations such as usage-based insurance and the ability to show electronic copies of their insurance documents.   Insurers applaud the objective of the Ontario government to modernize the rate regulation process.”

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario will review and examine how other jurisdictions set insurance rates and to identify greater efficiencies and to enable more competition in the province’s auto insurance system.

Also encouraging in today’s Fall Economic Statement was the Ontario government’s observation that recent innovations in the insurance sector require an equally innovative response from regulators. The government is committed to creating a new regulatory framework that supports the modernization of the auto insurance sector as well as providing the new regulator innovative insurance products with the tools it needs to deter fraud.

“Consumers today demand flexibility and ease of use of products and services,” added Donaldson. “The electronic availability of insurance documents is the logical next step. Today’s announcement will improve the consumer experience.”

Home, auto and business insurers look forward to continuing to work with the government to make the auto insurance system more affordable and stable for all drivers in Ontario.

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. Follow IBC on Twitter @IBC_Ontarioand 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

Bad B.C. drivers to face increased penalties; fines to jump 20 per cent annually

VICTORIA _ Bad drivers in British Columbia have less than 24 hours to improve their habits or face increased penalties for speeding, impaired or distracted driving and other offences.

Attorney General David Eby says in a release that fines applied under the driver risk premium and driver penalty point premium will jump 20 per cent effective Nov. 1, and a further 20 per cent in November 2019.

The driver risk premium is assessed for behaviour such as excessive speeding or two or more distracted driving violations, while the penalty point premium applies to drivers who collect four or more points from traffic violations in a single year.

Both penalties are on top of any fines or other consequences linked to the initial infraction and must be paid before vehicle insurance or a driver’s licence can be renewed.

The Attorney General’s Ministry says driver point premiums currently range from $175 for four points to $24,000 for 50 or more, but the increase will raise those amounts to $210 for four points and $28,800 for 50 or more.

Eby also says penalty premiums will keep pace with hikes in basic insurance offered by the Insurance Corporation of B.C., meaning the public insurer expects to collect $26 million in penalties next year, $32 million in 2020 and $36 million by 2021.

“Reckless drivers put others at risk, and they’re contributing to the rise in crashes we’re seeing on our roads,” Eby said in the release.

He also said higher penalties will hold drivers accountable if they engage in dangerous behaviour while behind the wheel.

The insurance industry will be monitoring any effects on their costs very closely in the coming year.

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