ICBC moves to online car insurance renewals, but change won’t save drivers money
British Columbia drivers will soon be able to renew their auto insurance online, but it won’t save them money.
Eligible ICBC customers whose policies expire on or after May 1, 2022 will have the option to renew their policy online.
“People are already saving through improved care. You’re not going to save a lot of money by going online rather than in person,” B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said at a Monday news conference. “It’s all about convenience.”
ICBC is in the midst of its most significant change in history, moving to an enhanced care model.
The public insurer started making money after years of loss, but still spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year in brokerage fees.
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In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, which lasted 15 months due to the tax calendar transition, brokers were paid $510 million by ICBC. This amount increased to $434 million in 2017 and 2018, and to $490 million in 2018 and 2019.
Switching to online insurance was seen as a possible way to reduce these costs.
Autoplan brokers, however, will continue to receive the same amount for an insurance policy renewal, whether done online or in person.
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“Brokers will do a review. If there are any issues they see, they will follow up with the customer after 48 hours,” ICBC CEO Nicolas Jimenez said at the conference.
“Brokers don’t just work for the sale, they’re there for the term.”
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Customers can renew their insurance up to 44 days earlier, which means some people will be able to renew online as early as March 17, 2022.
Coinciding with permanent online auto insurance renewals, May 1 will also mark the last day BC drivers will be required to display a license plate validation sticker.
The removal of the sticker will bring British Columbia in line with other Canadian jurisdictions that have successfully removed the sticker from circulation, including Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and the Northwest Territories.
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ICBC will provide up to $1 million to improve and expand the Automatic License Plate Recognition program that helps BC law enforcement detect illegal, unlicensed and uninsured drivers.
“Working with the RCMP, BC Police Services will improve and expand the automatic license plate recognition program that exists today,” said Farnworth.
There will be no base rate change at ICBC until December 2022.
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