The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is suggesting a brand new business model for ICBC as it braces for a billion dollar loss in 2018.
The CTF is proposing a driver-owned co-operative, giving Northern BC drivers including Prince George more choice on their car insurance.
It would give drivers the best of both worlds.
“We’ve got a great culture of credit unions here in British Columbia and we think this fits nicely with the NDP philosophy of a co-op insurance. People would still choose to stick with ICBC or they could take your business elsewhere shop around and get better rates,” says Kris Sims, CTF BC Director.
“For example, if you’ve got your truck or your car and you’re living in Prince George and you also have house insurance or content insurance or insurance on other vehicles, you can group it and save money with private insurance companies – people do this all the time in other provinces and you end up with much lower rates.”
For far too long, motorists have had little choice.
“I don’t think we can get worse because right now we’ve got a government monopoly, no choice, and the highest rates, we have got to try something else and if people want to hang on to ICBC just change it, change it and then open it up to competition and I think you’d see a really good result.”
“Is it really fair for people in the rest of the province being forced to pay higher insurance rates because someone happens to be doing one hundred and sixty in the rain and hydroplanes and gets into a major accident in Metro Van. Does that really make sense for people who are driving to work in Prince George to be held at gunpoint in a way to these high insurance rates, it’s not, it’s not fair at all,” added Sims.
Sims believes a change like this is long overdue since most drivers across the north are caught between a rock and a hard place.
“We’re not allowed to shop around, so it doesn’t matter if we’re driving our pick-up truck in Prince George or going downtown to take our kids to school in our sedan – it doesn’t matter unfortunately how good a driver you are since our rates are going up and up and up.”
An online petition has been set up by the CTF with the intent of getting enough signatures and presenting the findings to Premier John Horgan so they can be implemented down the road.
ICBC has been around since the 1970’s and Sims is of the belief the current model is outdated and out of touch with today British Columbians.
“We’re savvy, we’re progressive, innovative and we do stuff well and a lot of us have families or have lived in other provinces and so we know that you don’t need to do business this way with your car and that there is always an option to shop around with different companies and to be rewarded.”
“It’s the basics of capitalism and the idea that we have this government mandated monopoly that harkens back to the Ford Pinto is kind of silly and we need to update it. You know, I don’t think if given the option today the NDP government would invent ICBC from scratch because ICBC was invented back in the 70’s when government-owned things like coal mines and telecom companies and they controlled a lot more things, we are way different now.”
For a link to the petition, click here.