Taxpayer’s Federation joins calls for auto insurance competition in BC

Published: November 28, 2018

Updated: November 30, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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The problems of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) are back in the spotlight this month as the public auto insurer for British Columbia revealed a loss of over $500 million so far in 2018. Calls for competition from the private insurance market have been raised by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). That call has now been repeated by the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation.

According to the federation, drivers in Prince George and northern BC pay the highest average auto insurance premiums in Canada ($1,700). Has it reached a stage where customers should be very upset?

“Vehicle insurance is an essential thing for most British Columbians and it’s a fixed cost, it shouldn’t be fixed it should be fluid and we should be able to shop around and find lower rates,” said Kris Sims, Spokesperson.

“You’re relying on your vehicle all the time and it’s really important to have auto insurance or car insurance that’s affordable. Right now, all British Columbian drivers here in this province pay the highest rates in all of the country.”

ICBC says it is projecting a year-end financial net loss of $890 million for the 2018/19 year. During its 2017/18 fiscal year, the company reported a net loss of $1.3 billion. That means over the last two years, the ICBC has lost over $2 billion.

Sims points to the auto insurance model in Alberta as an avenue for BC to explore to alleviate pressure on the ICBC:

“Our brothers and sisters across the Rocky Mountains, however, who might be living in places like Edmonton or Fort McMurray they can shop around for the vehicle insurance they want, and they usually end up saving a ton of money.”

Sims says the current problems of the ICBC should be blamed on the previous BC Liberal government. The current NDP government in British Columbia says part of the blame is on the previous Liberal government, which took money from the ICBC when there was a $2 billion surplus.

“We’re not surprised, we’re just disappointed and that is why once again we are urging the government or the opposition – anyone, who will listen to change ICBC, change it into a co-op where if people really like it they can keep it in a form of a credit union but then open it up to a competition.”