British Columbia government opens audit of public insurer

Published: November 2, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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The provincial government of British Columbia says it will conduct an audit of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) after reports of auto shops falsely hiking their repair costs for vehicles.

Attorney General David Eby, the overseer of the monopoly public auto insurance provider, says the provincial government has hired accounting firm PwC Canada to find waste in the organization and find ways to prevent fraud and overbilling within the ICBC.

“ICBC will not be back on the road to financial sustainability or in a position to provide affordable rates to British Columbians without major changes at every level,” the attorney general said in a statement.

Four months ago, a leaked report showed the government monopoly auto insurance provider is losing money. The ICBC cannot be sustained in its current model unless auto premiums increase up to 30%, which would make British Columbia the most expensive insurance market in Canada. Over the months since the report, the government has blamed the previously ruling Liberals for taking out surplus money from the ICBC, while premium rates have increased.

On Wednesday, workers from the company released a statement suggesting several auto shops are increasing costs under the repair express program.

Annette Toth, vice-president of estimator advocacy group MoveUP, says the union members have claimed the number of claims passing through ICBC is so large employees do not have time to check costs.

“Our estimators are constantly trying to correct it,” Toth told CBC. “There’s not enough people to do the checks and make sure the body shops are being fully accountable.”