VICTORIA _ Insurance companies in British Columbia have agreed to end a pricing practice that has been identified as one of the key factors in skyrocketing property insurance premiums for condominiums.
Earlier this year, the B.C. Financial Services Authority said premiums have gone up by 40 per cent on average for a number of reasons.
Finance Minister Selina Robinson says an agreement to end so-called best terms pricing on Jan. 1 is a positive step.
Insuring multi-unit properties in B.C. often sees many insurers submit bids.
Under best terms pricing, the final premium paid by owners is usually based on the highest bid, even if most quotes were lower.
Blair Morrison, CEO of the financial services authority, says the change is an important step for long-term stability in the property insurance market.
Robinson was the housing minister in June when she introduced legislation to change the Strata Property Act and the Financial Institutions Act to bring more transparency to the insurance market.
The Insurance Council of B.C., the regulatory body for insurance agents in the province, says it will work with the industry to address the practice.
Council CEO Janet Sinclair says the change will mean less price volatility.
A financial authority report released in June says price pressures will continue on buildings considered to be higher risk and the insurance market for so-called strata properties was “unhealthy.”
It says insurers were accumulating losses mostly from minor claims, especially for water damage due to poor building maintenance and initial construction.
It says new building construction, building material changes and rising replacement costs have put added strain on the industry’s profitability.
Insurers are also reducing the amount of insurance they offer in B.C. because of excessive exposure to earthquake risk, it says.
This year’s holiday CounterAttack campaign is kicking off this weekend with police roadchecks set up across the province. ICBC and police are urging drivers to plan ahead and make smart decisions to get home safely this holiday season.
Although COVID-19 has changed many things, it hasn’t changed the law – if you plan to drink, don’t drive.
“We know celebrations will look different this holiday season,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s vice-president of public affairs and driver licensing. “If you’ve been drinking at home, please stay home and don’t drive. When you drink and drive, you not only risk your life but those of others on the road. We all need to do our part to prevent crashes and save lives. If you plan to drink, plan ahead.”
Impaired driving remains a leading cause of fatal car crashes, with an average of 67 lives lost every year in B.C. More than half of impaired-related crashes (56 per cent) occur on the weekend (Friday to Sunday).
“We fully support our road safety partners and the CounterAttack campaign and will be out in force over the holiday season to deter impaired driving,” said Superintendent Holly Turton, vice-chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “Police will utilize mandatory alcohol screening, Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and Drug Recognition Experts to identify and remove alcohol and drug affected drivers from our roads to make BC’s roads some of the safest in the world.”
For more than 40 years, ICBC has implemented impaired driving education campaigns and funded CounterAttack enhanced police enforcement.
ICBC leads two impaired driving education campaigns every year. Learn more facts and tips in ICBC’s infographic.
On average, 17 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in the Lower Mainland every year.
On average, 11 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving on Vancouver Island every year.
On average, 23 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in the Southern Interior every year.
On average, 17 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in North Central B.C. every year.
Several police detachments throughout B.C. will invite media to attend CounterAttack roadchecks in their communities during a one-day blitz on December 5.
B-roll footage of a CounterAttack roadcheck is available for download.
Notes about the data:
*Fatal victim counts from police data based on five-year average from 2015 to 2019. Impaired is defined to include alcohol, illicit drugs and medicines.
Responding to an emergency can sometimes be a significant challenge. One call I was involved with had us trying to find a three vehicle pileup in the northbound lanes of a major rural highway near where there had been a recent fire in the median. There was no indication of how bad any injuries were, but since the highway is posted at 110 km/h someone is probably hurt so police, fire and ambulance were all dispatched.
Things went downhill from there. The incident was nowhere near the place where the last grass fire in the median occurred.
When we did locate it, it was in the southbound lanes. One car had gone off the road and two others had stopped to give assistance. No one was hurt, damage was minimal and all that needed to be called was a tow truck.
Multiple emergency services were stood down. Thank goodness no one else needed them in the meantime and they were not involved in a crash themselves during the emergency run to get to the scene.
Cellular phones are wonderful inventions. Enhanced 911 will give dispatchers some idea where you are calling from but that accuracy depends on how close together the cell towers are. In rural areas, this could mean that they are far apart and location data is not as precise.
Old cellphones without an account, or even a SIM card, may still be able to dial 911. If you are using one to call for help it may not provide location data that is as precise as a cell phone with a current account will be.
If you dial an emergency number other than 911, the call will not report any location data.
Your smartphone will allow you to determine your location’s GPS co-ordinates. These can be passed directly to the dispatcher to pinpoint the problem. Know how to find them on your phone before the emergency occurs!
Now that you have the cavalry coming, how much of it is actually needed?
Taking two minutes to stop and inquire about the state of affairs at this scene is not a major inconvenience for you and makes all the difference for the victims and emergency services. Dispatch can send only what is needed, or decide properly that this is going to be a disaster that needs a full turnout of everything available.
How many people are hurt and how badly? How many vehicles are involved and what kind are they? Is the road blocked? Which side of the divided highway is the collision on? Being able to answer these simple questions can tailor the speed and quantity of the response to only what is really needed.
Sometimes the most valuable piece of information can be the licence plate number of the vehicles involved, especially in the case of an abandoned vehicle that has not been marked with crime scene or fire line tape to show it has already been investigated.
Don’t stop reporting incidents like this. However, please do it intelligently.
Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible for conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.
Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President Pacific, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), issued the following statement:
Today, the BC Liberal Party announced that if elected to form the next government, they will open the province’s vehicle damage market to full competition. This would make British Columbia’s no-fault system – set to come into force in May 2021 – remarkably similar to that of Quebec, a province where injury coverages are provided by the government insurer and vehicle damage coverages are provided by private insurers. Under the Quebec hybrid model, drivers pay an average of $717 for auto insurance – the lowest in Canada – and can shop around to find the best coverage at the best price. That is less than half the $1,500 average premium ICBC projects under its no-fault insurance system.
Under ICBC’s monopoly, BC drivers pay more for car insurance than any other jurisdiction in Canada – be it a public or a privately run system. Canada’s private insurers want to help lower premiums in BC and are committed to working with any government to create a system that works for everyone. Competition is a powerful incentive for any company to deliver the best product at the best possible price. Auto insurance is no exception to this rule.
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.
SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada
If you’ll be travelling over Labour Day long weekend, ICBC is asking you to share the road and do your part to drive safely.
Every Labour Day long weekend, approximately four people die and 600 people are injured in 2,100 crashes throughout the province.*
The key to sharing the road safely is staying focused on driving and looking out for road users around you. Avoid distractions which will take your eyes off the road and your mind off driving. Police across B.C. are cracking down on distracted drivers as part of this month’s enforcement and education campaign.
Top 4 tips:
If you find it difficult to take a break from your phone while driving, turn it to silent and keep it out of reach and out of sight. You can help keep your family and friends safe by not texting, calling or answering if you know they’re behind the wheel.
Allow at least two seconds of following distance between vehicles in good road conditions, and at least three seconds on high-speed roads. Increase your distance when you’re following a large vehicle such as an RV (it can block your vision) or a motorcycle (it can stop quicker than a car).
With trucks and RVs, keep clear of their blind spots. When following, you should be able to see both mirrors of the RV or truck in front of you. If you’re behind a slow moving RV or truck climbing up a hill, leave extra space and be patient as they’re probably trying their best to keep up with the flow of traffic.
Check road conditions at DriveBC.ca before you leave. Be realistic about travel times and accept delays that may arise. Don’t rush to make up time – slow down to reduce your risk of crashing and arrive at your destination safely. You also save fuel by driving at a steady speed.
Regional statistics over Labour Day weekend:
On Vancouver Island, on average, 72 people are injured in 310 crashes every year.
In the Southern Interior, on average, 70 people are injured in 320 crashes every year.
In the North Central region, on average, 20 people are injured in 110 crashes every year.
In the Lower Mainland, on average, 440 people are injured in 1,300 crashes every year.