08/31/2015 14:22 EDT | Updated 08/31/2016 01:12 EDT

ICBC says soaring claim costs will mean higher insurance costs for B.C. drivers

VANCOUVER — It will be two months before the Insurance Corp. of B.C. applies for a specific change to basic insurance rates, but drivers across the province are being warned they will pay more.

ICBC has begun filing its basic insurance rate application with the BC Utilities Commission, but final parts of the application, including any request for a rate change, aren't due until the end of October.

Despite that, the provincial auto insurer says a recent leap in injury claims means that if its request were filed today, it would have to ask for a 6.7 per cent rate hike, the highest possible under current legislation.

ICBC president Mark Blucher says the corporation will work with government over the next few weeks to identify ways to reduce the impending rate increase. 

The insurance corporation says costs for bodily injury claims topped $2 billion for the first time last year.

They are expected to climb to $2.3 billion this year, an increase ICBC says amounts to 64 per cent, or almost $900 million, since just 2008.

The Canadian Press