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VICTORIA – Amendments to insurance legislation introduced today require an independent regulator to set ICBC basic auto insurance rates and will enhance competition in the optional auto insurance market, said Finance Minister Gary Collins.
“The new structure takes politics out of ICBC rate-setting and ensures open, transparent and independently regulated rates for basic auto insurance,” said Collins. “Increased competition in the optional insurance market will help create more choice for British Columbians and help keep premiums as low as possible.”
The Insurance Corporation Amendment Act includes changes to the existing Insurance Corporation Act and the Insurance (Motor Vehicle) Act. The legislation removes cabinet’s responsibility to set premiums for automobile insurance, and appoints the British Columbia Utilities Commission as the regulator responsible for setting ICBC’s basic insurance premiums as of January 2004. The commission’s mandate is to protect the interests of drivers, vehicle owners and the public by ensuring that ICBC maintains its service quality, efficiency and financial soundness.To promote a more competitive optional insurance market, the commission will monitor ICBC’s operations to ensure the corporation and private insurers have fair and equal opportunities to compete for optional insurance business.
“The B.C. government is fulfilling its New Era commitment to increase competition in British Columbia’s auto insurance market,” said Collins. “These optional auto insurance changes ensure that ICBC and private insurers are on a level playing field.”
The legislation reflects changes to ICBC adopted by government during an open cabinet meeting last November. ICBC will remain the sole provider of basic auto insurance, which is required for every licensed driver and vehicle in British Columbia. Optional auto insurance may be purchased to extend basic coverage and further protect B.C. motorists.