05/15/2012 12:27 EDT | Updated 07/15/2012 05:12 EDT

ICBC seeks rate cut for low-risk drivers

ICBC wants to change the way it determines basic insurance rates by using the driver's accident record rather than their vehicle's accident history.

If the driver doesn't own a vehicle, a penalty will be applied once they do.

But the changes would also mean the end to rules that allow people with a long history without a claim to avoid having their rates hiked if they have up to three at-fault accidents.

"Under some circumstance the current system allows some people to keep their maximum basic premium discount even after they have been at fault in two, and sometimes three, crashes," according to information posted on the insurance corporation's website.

"This is unfair to drivers who have a crash-free record. In addition there is also a second reason for charging higher-risk drivers a higher premium: it sends a message that there is a financial consequence to high-risk driving."

ICBC spokesman Steve Crombie says option would be to limit drivers to one at-fault crash before hiking their rates.

"Should we be giving one free crash? Most insurance companies do have one crash forgiveness, so we are asking is that something that people want?"

The new scheme could end up seeing about two-thirds of drivers paying less than they do today, while the remaining third could pay more, says Mark Blucher, an ICBC senior vice-president.

Blucher says customers have already told the corporation they believe higher-risk drivers should be identified so that costs will be fairer, and suggests the change will also encourage safer driving.

ICBC says it's launching a series of province-wide public consultations to glean whether the structural change has support.

Consultations began Monday and will be hosted at public open houses in 12 regional centres across the province starting in Vancouver May 22.