Change of course needed for ICBC

It’s time the provincial government looked at ending the monopoly on automobile insurance

While the hand steering the course may be new, all indications suggest the destination will likely be the same. A report released this week suggests B.C.’s auto insurance rates could increase by as much as 30 per cent in the next two years.

The province’s new Attorney General David Eby was quick to downplay the report by Ernst &Young, saying “a 30 per cent rate increase will not be happening on our watch.” While the NDP government can certainly limit the amount of ICBC rate increases, there’s no escaping the underlying fact that there the province’s government-run auto insurance program is in serious need of an overhaul.

The report was commissioned by the previous Liberal government, which had long neglected the major work needed by the Crown corporation.

“ICBC has been careening toward a crisis over at least the last couple of years,” said Eby, who accused the previous government of using ICBC as a “bank machine” to help top up general revenue.

Eby’s first call to action is something the previous Liberal government long avoided: hiking the rates of drivers causing crashes. “Making them pay more because they are costing the system more just makes sense to us,” he said.

But ending the subsidy to B.C.’s worst drivers won’t be enough to reverse the problems caused through years of neglect by the previous government. The province has brought about minor adjustments to ICBC, most recently when the previous government announced cars worth more than $150,000 would no longer be covered.

But that will do little to turn the corporation’s fortunes around. The Ernst &Young report says accident rates increased by 23 per cent between 2013 and 2016, and that vehicle repair costs have skyrocketed to a total of $1.5 billion in 2016. That’s more than a bit of tinkering can repair.

After enjoying a monopoly over the province’s auto insurance market for more than four decades, perhaps the time has come to let B.C. drivers shop around. It’s an idea the new NDP government should at least take out for a test drive.

Just Posted

Man struck and killed on the Pat Bay Highway

Pedestrian struck while crossing near Mount Newton X Rd in Central Saanich

VicPD cuts school liaison program over budget impasse with Esquimalt

Six officers, including three school liaisons, to be reassigned to frontline duties

WATCH: Officers recognized at 10th anniversary of anti-impaired driving program

Alexa’s Team has grown from 26 members in 2008 to the current 2,400

Joining the new wave of women in trades

Pair of Saanich residents among women joining trades

Affordable housing development leaves neighbours concerned

A 90-unit proposal on Prosser Rd. is before Central Saanich council

WATCH: Officers recognized at 10th anniversary of anti-impaired driving program

Alexa’s Team has grown from 26 members in 2008 to the current 2,400

‘N’ driver in McLaren caught going 70 km/hr in playground zone

Vancouver police said the driver was fined $368 and the luxury car impounded for seven days

Dr. LipJob ordered to stop doing botox and other medical procedures

Rajdeep Kaur Khakh ordered to stop unlawful practice of medicine

B.C. to prevent for-profit blood, plasma collection

Voluntary Blood Donations Act would make it illegal to pay for blood, plasma donations

Bill Cosby guilty in sexual assault case

Comedian convicted of drugging and molesting a woman

B.C. legislates recreational marijuana sales

Age limit 19, province retains wholesale cannabis monopoly

Saanich Police pull over Pink Flamingo

Officers remind public this is not the way to transport items

COLUMN: Stanley Cup playoff second-round predictions

Sidney Crosby and the Penguins continue their quest for their third straight Stanley Cup

B.C. seeks court ruling on new pipeline regulations

Province wants to require permits for any new bitumen transport

Most Read