The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has released a statement saying that of all the provinces and territories, British Columbia pays the highest auto insurance premiums in the country.
Citing data from the General Insurance Statistical Agency (GISA), IBC said that, in 2017, the average auto premium for drivers in BC was $1,680 annually. By comparison, the province with the second highest average auto premiums per year – Ontario – came in at $1,445.
PEI posted the lowest average auto insurance premiums in 2017 – at $796 per year.
IBC noted in its release that drivers in provinces with competitive auto insurance systems “continue to pay significantly less than British Columbians insured through the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).”
“Under ICBC’s monopoly, British Columbians pay the highest auto insurance prices in Canada, with premiums averaging $1,680 annually,” commented IBC Pacific vice-president Aaron Sutherland. “With further rate increases on the horizon, it is critical that ICBC is opened to competition and choice to improve affordability for drivers.”
Sutherland referred to an IBC-sponsored MNP report, entitled “The Benefits of Competition in the Provision of Automobile Insurance in BC,” which came to the conclusion that a competitive marketplace for auto insurance would reduce premiums in BC, since private insurers and their product innovations can cut claims costs.
“Opening BC’s auto insurance marketplace to competition would save drivers up to $325 annually,” the regional vice-president remarked. “Competition provides a powerful incentive for any company to deliver the best service at the best price. Auto insurance is no exception to this rule, and Canada’s private insurers are eager to better serve the BC marketplace.”
IBC’s statement comes as the province of BC prepares to make changes to improve the ICBC, which is currently in dire financial straits.
ICBC also recently announced that, in 2017, it handled a record-breaking number of 350,000 automobile crashes – costing the insurer a total of $4.8 billion in claims.