Insurance drop for local drivers 

ICBC lowers rates by one per cent for Whistler, Squamish residents

Drivers in Whistler and Squamish may have lower insurance rates come this May, thanks to a recent rate adjustment from ICBC.

According to Doug Henderson, senior media relations advisor for ICBC, rates will drop on average by one per cent, although exact amounts will vary between different individuals. Rates for drivers in Pemberton on the other hand will increase by about 1.5 per cent.

“What we’ve done is we’ve adjusted the territories, but we’ve also adjusted what we call rate classes,” said Henderson.

“And a rate class is how you use your vehicle, so somebody who drives their vehicle for pleasure use only versus somebody who drives their vehicle for business purposes.”

The reason for the readjusted rates is to account for different claims costs across the province. Since residents in the Fraser Valley generally have higher claims than residents in the Sea to Sky area, the rate change attempts to make the system fairer for all clients.

“For each crash, there is a certain cost attached to it, and when the costs outweigh the premiums being brought in, and then you need to adjust the territory,” said Henderson.

“I think one of the important things to emphasize here is these changes are revenue neutral. So we are not bringing in more money, or less money. It is all as a zero increase over the board. It is just that some territories will see the increase, and some will see the decrease.”

More than 50 per cent of drivers in the province will see a decrease in their rate, with the average person seeing a 1.5 per cent decrease. Rate increases are mainly seen in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.

Henderson said rate changes are not completely attached to the number of car crashes in an area.

“It is really looking at claims costs in each territory, and how that has changed,” he said.

“Crashes obviously have a big impact on that, but if you were just to simply look at crash data, it might not show the exact same picture we are talking about. It is really about looking at claims costs as opposed to crashes.”

The changes will take effect in May 2007, although individual insurance rates will only change once drivers renew their insurance.

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