Opinion

Letnick: Road to opening up government

When Christy Clark became premier, she made it clear that one of her foremost priorities was opening up government.

That’s a worthwhile goal, and given the public forums happening around the province, ICBC shares that commitment.

Recently, residents of Kelowna had the chance to talk face-to-face with ICBC staff at the Ramada Hotel. Drivers were able to directly communicate their concerns and suggestions about the proposed changes to insurance premiums.

In Kelowna, and in similar sessions across the province, these discussions focus on three major topics.

First, the importance of total driving experience, as opposed to the length of time a driver has gone without an accident.

Second, holding those drivers at fault for accidents accountable, rather than the owners of the

vehicles.

Finally, how much weight should be put on serious driving violations in setting premiums for those high-risk drivers.

As you may have heard, ICBC is proposing to revise the way it sets premiums from the current vehicle-based model to a driving record-based model.

This means that drivers who will pay higher premiums are not those who have a claims history on their cars, but those whose personal driving records indicate high-risk driving.

The proposed redistribution of premium rates comes from the public’s concerns about the fairness of the current model.

Many drivers lose discounts when somebody else, be it family or friends, use their car and acquire a claim—a nice way of saying “had an accident.”

It’s important to remember that the redistribution of premiums proposed by ICBC is just that —redistribution.

ICBC will not see increases in its own revenue, but customers will see the benefits in their own wallets.

Following the new model, about 2/3 of drivers would be paying less and about 1/3 would be paying more.

All these potential changes to basic insurance would be implemented gradually, as to minimize the effects of the transition process.

The new system, more accurately reflective of risk, would be ready for the 2014-15 year.

If you missed the chance to weigh in on ICBC staff here in Kelowna, this engagement initiative gives you many options to contribute.

A discussion guide and feedback form is available online, with standing invitations to submit feedback and suggestions by email or mail.

There will also be an online forum and webinar sessions collecting feedback.

Ultimately, opening up government means letting people see where their money goes, and giving people more of a voice as to how it’s invested back into the community.

ICBC’s rate changes will affect every driver in the province, so it’s important that all recommendations and concerns that you have are heard and taken into consideration.

To get involved and for more information, go to www.publicengagement.icbc.com.

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