Officials in British Columbia cannot agree on how to rescue the provinces troubled public insurance provider. Once a much-celebrated organization, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is on the rocks after a recently leaked report.
The report found that ICBC is close to financial ruin and could be forced to raise auto insurance rates by as much a 30%. While B.C. Attorney General (and ICBC overseer) David Eby says he will not allow that to happen, but authorities disagree about how to solve the issue.
There is a clear agreement that the system is broken, but how to fix it has drawn debate. Finger pointing for the blame has included targeting the previous liberal government for taking money out of the corporation when there was a $2 billion surplus.
Eby lays the blame directly at the door of the previous regime:
“ICBC, as described to me by senior bureaucrats, is on the path to insolvency,” Eby said. “It’s very unfortunate that it’s been left for so long, because I think there was really an opportunity to address this much earlier.’
“The reason we’re in a bind right now is that there’s no more money left in the optional piggy bank,” said retired civil servant Rick McCandless, who has written extensively on ICBC.
“The music has stopped. You can’t play the game anymore. Somebody must make some tough decisions. And that somebody is government.”