IBC repeats call for private auto insurance in British Columbia

Published: January 31, 2019

Updated: February 1, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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The outlook for auto insurance in British Columbia is hardly impressive, with the market set to face continued problems. After several years of losing money, the situation around the public Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) remains unstable. With auto insurance premiums set to rise 6.3% by April, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has called for change.

This week, the industry representative has repeated a longstanding call for British Columbia to embrace competition. Under the current system, all basic auto insurance coverage is sold through the monopoly ICBC.

Despite losing nearly $2 billion in two years, ICBC continues to be the only avenue for basic coverage in B.C. Private insurance companies sell policy additionals in the province. Earlier this month, the B.C. Utilities Board approved the ICBC’s latest auto insurance rate increase.

IBC has repeatedly called for private insurers to be given regulatory approval to sell basic coverage in the province. With the situation showing no signs of improvement, that call has been voiced again. IBC Pacific Vice President Aaron Sutherland says motorists in B.C. should not have to pay for the ICBC’s mistakes.

“It’s a pretty simple solution, other Canadian insurance companies just need approval to operate here in British Columbia,” Sutherland told Castanet.net.

“We believe British Columbians should be able to shop around like they do in virtually every other aspect of their lives, to find the best product at the best price that best suits their needs. We can’t do that here in B.C.”

Sutherland believes the introduction of private insurers will relieve pressure on the market and allow rates to decrease. He called on residents to take the issue up with their government representatives.

“The best thing people can do is make this a political issue by contacting your MLA [member of the legislator] and letting them know you want change,” Sutherland told Castanet.net. “ICBC needs competition and consumers need choice.”