David Eby challenges the BC Liberals record on ICBC after a new report warns of sharp rate hikes. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

David Eby challenges the BC Liberals record on ICBC after a new report warns of sharp rate hikes. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

ICBC rates could go up 30 per cent by 2019: report

B.C. drivers could pay $2,000 per year

ICBC rates could go up by as much as 30 per cent by 2019, a new report warns.

The report, released Monday, says the average driver could pay up to $2,000 per year, as long as trends persist because the corporation still has to cover its costs through rates, and nothing is done to improve things.

The report, by Ernst & Young, blames more crashes, higher payouts for minor injuries and a rate of claim increase that is going up faster than accident rates.

Attorney General David Eby, who is the new NDP government’s ICBC minister and past critic, wasted no time slamming the Liberals’ record with the crown corporation. The NDP has long criticized the BC Liberals’ handling of the auto insurer, and promised to slow down rate hikes during the 2017 provincial election campaign.

“This report illustrates a situation that must have been apparent to the board and to the previous administration,” said Eby. “For some reasons they failed to act… we will act. A 30 per cent rate increase will not be happening on our watch.”

Eby highlighted the main problems he saw with how the past government handled ICBC.

“The BC Liberals have been using ICBC as a bank machine, bringing money out of the corporation to claim better finances than are the case,” Eby said.

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The report says accident rates increased by 23 per cent between 2013 and 2016, and that vehicle repair costs have skyrocketed to a total of $1.5 billion in 2016.

According to Eby, drivers who aren’t careful on B.C.’s roads might soon have to pay for it.

“Drivers should be rewarded for good driving and people who are bad drivers should have to pay higher rates,” Eby said. “Making them pay more because they are costing the system more just makes sense to us.”

But not everything the report proposes interests Eby, who called photo radar and no fault insurance “non starters.”

High-value cars over $150,000 are cited as a major reason. Seventy per cent more luxury cars are on the road in 2016 than in 2013.

In late 2016, then-transportation minister Todd Stone announced ICBC would no longer cover cars worth more than $150,000.

When a 2016 ICBC insurance forecast showed a potential hike of 42 per cent over the next five years, the agency called the numbers “hypothetical” and “potentially misleading.”

RELATED: ICBC won’t insure luxury cars, Stone says after forecast of hikes

In 2000, the average minor injury claim paid out $8,220, compared to just over $30,000 in 2016 – an increase of 365 per cent.

Serious or catastrophic injury payouts, the report notes, increased by only 25 per cent. In total, payouts for minor injuries now cost ICBC more than payouts for serious injuries.

Liberal MLA Andrew Wilkinson called Eby’s response to the report a “complete failure.”