Insurance Corporation of British Columbia

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is a provincial crown corporation in British Columbia created in 1973 by the NDP government of British Columbia. The original purpose of ICBC was to provide universal public auto insurance in British Columbia. Its responsibilities have expanded to include driver licensing and vehicle registration and licensing.

By law, any vehicle registered and driven or parked on public streets in British Columbia must purchase ICBC's basic insurance package from an independent broker. This basic coverage, called "Autoplan," includes protection from third party legal liability, under-insured motorist protection, accident benefits, hit-and-run protection, and inverse liability. At the time the Corporation was established, it held a monopoly on automobile insurance in the province, but in recent years private insurance firms have been permitted to offer optional additional coverage, such as extended liability, collision, and comprehensive plans. While ICBC continues to hold a monopoly on basic insurance, it has chosen to offer optional additional coverage, in competition with these firms.

Like other insurance companies, ICBC bases its premiums on a client's claims history, type of automobile, and geographic location. Unlike most private insurers, however, ICBC is prohibited by law from setting premiums taking into account such demographic characteristics as age, sex or marital status. The Corporation's discount plan (called "Roadstar" and "Roadstar Gold") rewards safe drivers with reduced premiums based on the number of years the driver has been free of successful claims against him or her.

ICBC is governed by a board of directors appointed according to the provisions of the "Insurance Corporation Act", ICBC's enabling statute. The board of directors, the CEO, and ICBC management govern ICBC in accordance with corporate governance best practices, and in accordance with the provisions of the enabling legislation, the "Motor Vehicle Act", and other legislation applicable to ICBC. Rates applicable to ICBC's basic automobile insurance coverage are subject to the review of, and are set by, the British Columbia Utilities Commission. Revenue collected by the Corporation goes mostly into paying insurance benefits, while some is invested in fulfilling the Corporation's mandate to promote safe driving (the "RoadSense" campaign) and pursue other loss prevention strategies. Unanticipated profits incurred by the Corporation have been applied to lower premiums.

Although it was established by a New Democratic government, successive governments of various stripes have maintained the public insurer. Occasionally movements for reform of the automobile insurance system in the province spring up, but they have thus far been unsuccessful. Poll results gauging public satisfaction with ICBC and/or support for its privatization have been mixed over the years.

License plate decals

It is necessary to place a decal on the rear license plate as proof of current insurance in order to be permitted to drive the vehicle. Decals have been used since 1970, but they all expired on February 28 of the following year until March 1980. Then they expired at the end of the month on the decal, until 1994. Then an additional decal, with a number on it for the day it expired, was introduced. The following are the colour patterns used in years from 1980 onward:

External links

* [http://www.icbc.com/ ICBC]
* [http://www.qp.gov.bc.ca/statreg/stat/I/96228_01.htm "The Insurance Corporation Act", the enabling legislation of ICBC] .


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