The average premium is calculated by comparing the total premiums collected from passenger vehicles in each province and dividing it by the number of vehicles. (David Horemans/CBC)
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Data shows B.C. residents pay highest auto insurance premiums in Canada Social Sharing

British Columbians pay an average of $1,832 annually

B.C. residents pay the highest auto insurance premiums in Canada, according to data released by the General Insurance Statistical Agency (GISA), the statistical agency run by Canada’s provincial insurance regulators.

The data shows that people living in B.C. pay an average of $1,832 annually, compared to $1,316 in neighbouring Alberta, $1,505 in Ontario and $717 in Quebec.

A written release from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) said that prices are expected to continue rising in the years ahead, according to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia’s (ICBC) latest financial statements. 

In January 2018, B.C. Attorney General David Eby called the state of ICBC a “financial dumpster fire” and vowed to make drastic changes to the province’s automobile insurance industry.

In March, major changes came into effect.

IBC vice-president Aaron Sutherland said in the statement that “while many important changes are underway in B.C., none are expected to begin to reduce the price most drivers are paying.”

The average premium is calculated by comparing the total premiums collected from passenger vehicles in each province and dividing it by the number of vehicles. 

ICBC response

ICBC spokesperson Joanna Linsangan says B.C. is taking a different approach to fix the system — by redirecting money currently going toward legal costs to better benefits and improved care for people injured in crashes.

“”Whether we have a public or private auto insurance system in B.C., the same underlying problems of a high number of crashes and record-high numbers of claims and costs would still need to be addressed — simply changing to private insurance would not solve these issues,” Linsangan said. 

She further pointed out recent studies have shown jurisdictions with private insurance — like Ontario and Alberta — have had some of the largest increases in drivers’ premiums. 

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story mistakenly said Aaron Sutherland was an ICBC vice-president. In fact, he is an Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) vice-president.

CBC News 

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