BC Liberals want to end ICBC monopoly but will it help reduce rates?

WatchBC Liberals want to end ICBC monopoly and bring in more competition but will it help reduce insurance rates? Tess van Straaten reports.

Frustration is high over sky-rocketing ICBC auto insurance rates and it’s becoming a major B.C. election issue.

“A consistent theme we hear in this campaign is people are really fed up with ICBC,” BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson says.

Accusing the BC NDP of “driving up insurance rates an average of $620” and thousands of dollars for young drivers, the BC Liberals are promising to give ICBC more competition.

“The ICBC monopoly is a failure,” Wilkinson says. “For 46 years, we’ve put up with state control of how we buy auto insurance and it’s reached a crunch point where people can’t afford it anymore.”

The Liberals’ plan would let drivers buy all forms of auto insurance, including basic liability insurance, from private companies or from ICBC, under its new no-fault system that limits lawsuits.

But the BC NDP say having two systems — and not limiting lawsuits — will rev up costs even more.

“We did look at the hybrid model and the reason we didn’t go ahead with it is because it drastically reduced any savings that British Columbians would hope to see,” B.C. attorney general David Eby says.

The NDP plan to bring in savings averaging 20 per cent in May and they say they finally have the ICBC dumpster fire the Liberals started under control.

Eby says privatizing insurance would also hurt new drivers even more.

“The private insurers will pull the lowest risk drivers out of the pool, leaving only younger drivers in the pool and when you have that situation rates go up dramatically and in this case, that would mean for anyone under the age of 35.”

The BC Green Party — which supported the NDP’s ICBC reforms — says the Liberal campaign promise is another example of partisan politics.

“It’s an example of the kind of lurching that we’ve seen in B.C. where the NDP come in power, they undo all the things the Liberals do, the Liberals come into power, they undo a whole bunch of things that the NDP does and taxpayers pay the price,” BC Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau says.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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