A report earlier this week suggested the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) could raise auto insurance rates this year by nearly 30%. Such an action would make the country’s second most expensive insurance market even more prohibitive for customers. However, British Columbia’s attorney general has said that he will not allow such a price rise to happen.
The report was compiled by the previous Liberal government in the province and kept from public, before it leaked this week. It shows that the ICBC is in major financial trouble and could need to raise premiums substantially to remain viable.
David Eby, BC’s Attorney General, and also the man in charge of the ICBC, says he will not oversee such a rate increase. In a press conference today, Eby said the hike (expected over the next two years) will not happen while he is in charge. He instead focused on laying the blame for the situations on the Liberals.
“This is a very serious and a very grave concern,” Eby said. “We will take the steps necessary to fix what is happening at ICBC, to make British Columbia’s roads safer for British Columbians and to ensure that rates are affordable for British Columbians, because clearly that is not where we are tracking right now.”
The leaked report showed growing numbers of collisions and vehicle repair costs, coupled with a rise in injury claims, has left the ICBC in a financial predicament. The provincial public insurance company has failed to protect consumers from the situations and rising premiums seem inevitable.
Commissioned by the previous Liberal government, the report suggests limiting payment for pain, clamping down on high risk drivers with higher rates, and charging more for luxury car insurance. Re-introducing photo-radar speed traps could also bring in more revenue, the report found.
Eby dismissed most of the recommendations and accused the previous government of taking money from ICBC to make the overall provincial finances look better.
“ICBC has been careening toward a crisis over at least the last couple of years. This should have been an election issue,” Eby stated. “Our goal is to make roads as safe as possible and to make sure that rates stay affordable for British Columbians, and that’s what we’ll be doing. It was not a priority of the previous government, obviously.”