|Original News Release|
What are the main changes to auto insurance?
· Cabinet will no longer set ICBC premiums.
· The B.C. Utilities Commission will regulate ICBC basic automobile insurance premiums and service levels, beginning in January 2004.
· The B.C. Utilities Commission will hold public hearings prior to finalizing premiums.
· Greater competition will be encouraged in the optional automobile insurance market to increase choice and keep premiums low.
· Amendments to current legislation put ICBC and private insurers on a level playing field.
· ICBC’s optional auto insurance business will be subject to substantially the same financial and regulatory requirements as private insurers.
· ICBC will be prohibited from cross-subsidizing its optional insurance business from its basic insurance business, which it operates as a monopoly.
· The B.C. Utilities Commission will regulate ICBC’s competitive practices to ensure ICBC does not exploit its dominant position to compete unfairly in the optional automobile insurance market.
What will remain the same with auto insurance?
· All B.C. residents operating a vehicle must be covered by basic auto insurance, which is sold by ICBC. Basic auto insurance includes $200,000 of third-party liability coverage, $1 million of underinsured motorist coverage, coverage in the event of a hit-and-run accident, and personal-injury accident coverage.
Additional amendments to the Insurance (Motor Vehicle) Act and the Insurance Act will be introduced in a future legislative session to ensure that optional insurance contracts sold by ICBC and private insurers follow the same regulations under contract law.