Beware Liberals’ ICBC Trojan Horse!

I would likely save under the BC Liberals’ plan to eliminate ICBC’s monopoly on basic automobile insurance.

After all, I have more than a 50-year driving record without a single claim in which I was found at fault! I am an ICBC Roadstar.

That does not mean I’m happy with ICBC.

I believe I still pay too much … far too much … as a retired senior who drives a Hyundai (no luxury car!) for personal leisure use only … no other drivers. I even take ICBC’s optional coverage … and don’t forget that perfect driving record!

Yes … I would likely save a small bundle under privatization of basic coverage … unless and until I ever have a claim!!!

Then I would pay through the nose … probably lose an arm and a leg in the process … or , who knows, even be dropped completely.

No, thank you!

I know … because been there, done that: was insured as a younger driver before government auto insurance; and, have seen other drivers at the mercy of private insurers: new drivers; younger drivers; elderly drivers; and, anyone who had a claim.

It was legalized rape!

And I think those who set the “competitive” rates must be the same people or descendants of those who set the price of gasoline at the pump. Amazing how often they all charge the same price for the same product and go up and down within minutes of each other. Some competition!

At least with gasoline, you can just buy a day or two’s worth and try to shop around … if necessary, even drive to Abbotsford (or eventually the US) to fill up. You can’t do that with auto insurance.

If the Liberals are elected and they do introduce private basic coverage, I predict the private corporations would cream off the best … drivers with records like mine … offering very attractive initial rates.

Great for me!

But I really worry about what would happen after the private corporations only cover the VERY MINIMUM number of young drivers they would be required to by law, or those with accident records, leaving ICBC to insure the HUGE number of the rest.

Let’s keep it real! That would drive UP ICBC’s annual losses even more … I predict leading to the dissolution of the public option within two or three years.

Then watch the rates we ALL would pay … once private insurers gain back their monopoly … like they hung over our heads in their “good old days”.

I have warned about this before… more than two years ago: http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/icbc-je-me-souviens/

Here’s part of that Blog:

“In March 2010, Christy Clark‘s BC Liberal government announced that it would require ICBC to pay the province dividends totalling some $778 million over three years, thus signalling the end of ICBC’s operation as a non-profit Crown corporation, and also making it the only for-profit public auto insurance provider in Canada” Wikipedia points out.

The Liberals raped ICBC for more than $1 Billion.”

Now private competition has reared its head again … under Andrew Wilkinson’s “new” Liberal plan.

You read all about that here: https://www.bcliberals.com/2020/10/06/cheaper-car-insurance-coming-bc-liberals-promise-choice-for-drivers/

And the NDP’s response: https://mailchi.mp/bcndp/wilkinsons-plan-to-keep-legal-costs-in-car-insurance-would-cost-people-400-more?e=559b4fdbe8

I don’t buy the Liberal plan.

Because I have no doubt the attractive “introductory” price by private insurers will later be followed by the “regular” pricing for basic auto insurance coverage … once they’ve put ICBC out of business … and I doubt many of us will like the pricing then!

Except their bonussed executives, investors, shareholders.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: You can get First Alerts of all new postings on this BC -based Blog by following @harveyoberfeld.ca)

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18 Responses to Beware Liberals’ ICBC Trojan Horse!

  1. hawgwash says:

    A topic for everyone Harvey, thanks; I could hear DBW’s sigh of relief, all the way down here on the south end of the island.

    Anyone with non-essential assets; an RV, boat, second property and those living in condominiums, have experienced the unregulated exorbitant increases at the hands of private insurers and all any government will do is “look into it.”

    At the same time, the NDP offering ICBC rebates when they have been screaming “Liberal made dumpster fire” since they were elected, makes no good sense.

    I mailed my ballot yesterday, now I’ll just sit back and watch the fur fly.

    (Response: As I’ve learned over the decades, and yet still see happen every election, politicians and parties try to BUY our votes in so many ways … and we all know what thry give us with one hand they will later take back (plus!!) with the other down the road…. to bribe us again the next time around. LOL! But with the private auto insurance idea ….the “take back” won’t even go into public coffers, but to executives, stock holders etc. … unless the Liberals win, they do it and I then buy shares! ho)

  2. R says:

    Basic coverage is ICBC optional can be 3rd party

    How did BCRail sale go for us ?
    Now ICBC?
    Next BCHydro?
    HST tax?

    (Response: I don’t mind allowing private insurers to compete/offer optional extra coverage. But the basic coverage should remain public and controlled, to spread the liability over the greatest possible number of clients, while still rewarding those with good driving records and charging more to those who have more accidents. h.o)

  3. Chuckstraight says:

    I can remember my father yelling at a private insurance office after I totalled the family car(no fault was the RCMP report-icy unsanded bridge) -that they wanted the money back in the first year premiums. ICBC was created for a reason- and the BC Liberals used it as a bank account.

    (Response: Auto insurance is like health care, and hopefully soon pharmacare: it’s a basic requirement , not an option, and thus should be provided free or at the lowest cost possible to all without a profit motive or component. h.o)

  4. !? says:

    You are forgetting the BC Liberals TWICE hired ‘independent’ reports that – much to their chagrin – showed that ICBC was the best option for the people. Then they announced a board and gerrymandered the rates: much like they screwed over BC Rail so they could justify it’s sale.

    (Response: Thanks for the reminder. I’m not sure that we can hold the current Liberals responsible for the actions of the previous Liberal government any more than we can hold the current NDP responsible for the fast ferries … BUT I do believe that, despite its current flaws, ICBC is a good idea, worthy of keeping and improving. h.o)

  5. nonconfidencevote says:

    While I agree that ICBC is great in theory…….

    The amount of cash that organization hoovered up was , obviously, too much of a temptation for either the NDP or the Liberals to ignore.

    Wilkinson’s ( worst choice of Leader in a decade) desperate attempt at votes.
    Nothing more.
    BC drivers pay exorbitant rates because ….there is no competition.
    Why am I, a 40 YEAR accident free, Roadstar paying $2000 per year to drive a 5
    6 year old truck………… subsidizing a high school kid in a Maserati?
    Dont fiddle around with half private and half govt insurance…..

    Privatize it all and let the lousy drivers in their high end, prestige SUV’s, cars, etc pay dearly for their crappy driving……

    The sooner, the better.

    (Response: As I wrote, I don’t like ICBC the way it is: but I believe it can be saved, improved. And part of that requires internal financial restructuring, reasonable payout limits and a clampdown on phony exaggerated claims (it’s an insurance plan, not a lottery win!) and guarantees that in good years any profits go back to the customers ..not into the government’s pocket. h.o)

  6. nonconfidencevote says:

    “Auto insurance is like health care, and hopefully soon pharmacare: it’s a basic requirement , not an option, and thus should be provided free or at the lowest cost possible to all without a profit motive or component. h.o)”

    +++++

    And then I woke up wondering where I was…….

    (Response: The NEW British Columbia in a NEW Canada … both soon to be the home of hockey’s NEW Harvey Cup. h.o)

  7. Richard Skelly says:

    Begs the questions: Is ICBC currently paying annual dividends to the now NDP provincial government? Or are dividends only mandated in years when ICBC is profitable?

    Last October, Attorney-General David Eby made it sound like a ‘dividend’ was something less than a tangible cash transfer from the crown corporation to the government in an interview with Tom Fletcher of Black Press. I think Eby is engaging in sophistry.

    October 29/2019 Chilliwack Progress article excerpt:

    Another issue Eby addressed with reporters at the legislature was the emergence of a possible return to surplus in ICBC’s current year, which he said has been incorrectly reported.

    “The second point of frustration I have is the suggestion that government is taking dividends from ICBC, or is planning on taking dividends from ICBC,” Eby said. “The books reflect the hope, and at this point it is a hope, that ICBC will be revenue positive. When ICBC is revenue positive in government’s consolidated books, it reflects as money coming to government. It’s how it’s reported in the books. It doesn’t mean it’s a dividend paid by ICBC.”

    (Response: Your detailed questions about how the dividends are determined or paid and whether we will still get the promised reductions next Spring if ICBC doesn’t show the profit they are expecting, should be addressed to and by the working media who are paid handsomely to cover ICBC: let us know their response. h.o)

  8. hawgwash says:

    When I read Harvey Cup, why do I get an visual of an athletic suporter?

    (Response: BEST line of the day! And I have always supported sports as a way of bringing our nation together. h.o)

  9. HARRY LAWSON says:

    Harvey,

    as with most things the grass is the grass is always greener on the other side. the ICBC today is not the ICBC of decades ago .
    ICBC has swelled as a administration taking over the motor vehicle dept.

    we have great health care , until you need it ,we have great public and private insurance until you need it
    i say lets have a race around Stanley park with a Trojan horse , a bike and a Hyundai the winner would get the Harvey cup.

    (Response: The race will have to wait a while: Stanley Park’s roads are now too crowded with lots of people, including handicapped, elderly and families all enjoying it while they can; the cyclists are unavailable … too busy enjoying being back on the seawall; and I rented out my Trojan Horse to the Liberals for the campaign. h.o)

  10. !? says:

    Vaughn Palmer reminds us it was the old Campbell BC Liberals in a continuous line through to the departed Christy Clark BC Liberals who lit the dumpster fire that the BC NDP inherited.

    https://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/vaughn-palmer-eby-gets-big-boost-with-liberals-revisiting-icbc-dumpster-fire

  11. DBW says:

    We agree Harvey, especially when you said “despite its current flaws, ICBC is a good idea, worthy of keeping and improving.”

    (On a sadder note, I just read the article on Deb Hope. I paid off my election bet by donating to the Alzheimers’s Society in her honour.)

    (Response: I don’t think the privatization idea will win the votes the Liberals think it will. For those who missed the Deb article: https://globalnews.ca/news/7384445/global-bc-icon-deb-hope-alzheimers-disease/. h.o)

  12. nonconfidencevote says:

    I heard about Deb Hope today.
    A class act.
    Unbelievable.

  13. e.a.f. says:

    Having lived through the private insurance days in our province, I’m so happy ICBC was created by Dave Barrett and the NDP. Its still here and regardless of what Wilkinson promises, its will still be here if he were to be elected. He is just, in my opinion, trying to latch onto something.

    It may also be he wants to scrape ICBC, not so much because he doesn’t like ICBC but the land ICBC sits on around the province. It would most likely turn up in the hands of B.C. Lieberals supporters or some such corporations.

    the other problem Wilkinson would set into motion would be the loss of jobs in B.C. Jobs that pay a decent wage. It would also negatively impact the union which represents the workers at ICBC.

    If the B.C. Lieberals used to take $500M out of ICBC a year, where do they expect to get that money, once they scrap it. Now of course they aren’t getting it now, but just the same, don’t see the B.C Lieberals giving up a money source, so either Wilkinson is an idiot, doesn’t plan to scrap ICBC or is just trying to get his name in the paper.

    (Response: As for your line ” where do they expect to get that money” … that’s the greatest unasked question of the entire campaign, for not just ICBC but ALL the programs/promises/bribes the parties have announced. It’s like they’ve been given an unlimited credit card to spend as much as they want, and we, the taxpayers who will get the bill, and the media who supposedly represent us, aren’t even asking where the money will come from once the deficit/debt is all added up. h.o.)

  14. Gilbert says:

    I think it shows a complete lack of respect to call the Liberals by a different name. Do we truly believe the other parties don’t lie? The excuses for this unnecessary election are a lie and so are any assurances that under the socialist NDP, there won’t be big tax increases. Let’s be fair and admit that all parties lie.

  15. Gilbert says:

    Here is an interesting piece of information. A study by MNP found that drivers in Alberta pay about 42% less for auto insurance than drivers in BC.

  16. D. M. Johnston says:

    Sad fact, I feel the two main parties are unfit, both with long legacies of incompetence, corruption and just plain stupidity.

    Normally I would vote for an independent but there is none and it doesn’t matter anyways because our one issue Liberal MLA will gain reelection.

    Thus vote and see it wasted, spoil the ballot, or vote Green.

    I do understand why Horgan called this election, 2021 is going to make 2020 look like child’s play and neither Horgan or Wilkinson have any platform to deal with it.

    Horgan is going to squander billions on nebulous public works, employing union workers, many will be out of province and Wilkinson is going to apply Trumpian nonsense, designed to make the weather more wealthy.

    Both, unrealistic fiscal insanity.

    I omit the Greens because they have absolutely no chance becoming government and their only hope is to elect four MLA’s to be considered an official party and a minority government.

    ICBC is nothing more than a political football, the Liberals rob from it and the NDP use it as a political tool, it has been ever thus.

    I have no great fondness of ICBC, in fact I consider them corrupt – BUT, I think private insurers are even more corrupt.

    So there you have it, a largely fake election; unrealistic finical promises to shore up the base and punting the ICBC football.

    The next four years are going to be hell, no matter who wins.

    (Response: You’re right: the Greens have no chance of winning, but what worries me is that if they’re popular vote or seats go up, they’ll interpret that as an endorsement of the fascist style governance Greens have imposed on Vancouver’s Park Board ..especially hurting the handicapped and elderly… without listening to them or the 30,000 public who signed petitions. For the sake of preserving and protecting democracy, I’m urging people NOT to vote Green this time: send them a message that we need to respect and accommodate more than just their base. h.o)

  17. HARRY LAWSON says:

    Harvey,

    i would say that the majority factor of the cost of insurance either private ,public ,or hybrid is claim cost . the insurance companies can try to limit bodily injury payouts, labor cost the thing they cant control is the cost of replacing the parts with either new or used. example headlights $250 to $ 5000 each . computers and sensors etc .

    public or private insurance we will have to pay for the technology ,

    the issue as i see it is how do we reform ICBC ?

    if we go private will car insurance providers raise rates like there strata insurance counterparts?
    i can see us all screaming for public insurance again if this happens .

    (Response: ICBC is also saddled with extra costs/responsibilities that private insurers do not face. These include road safety, traffic design, driver education/enforcement programs etc. h.o)

  18. nonconfidencevote says:

    “ICBC is also saddled with extra costs/responsibilities that private insurers do not face. These include road safety, traffic design, driver education/enforcement programs etc. h.o)”

    +++
    Yes.
    However …..ICBC took on tht responsibility when they absorbed the Motor Vehicle Branch.
    Gee nothing like a govt organization( and its legions of bureaucrats) becoming so deeply ingrained into the backbone of all things “car” that to dis assemble ICBC would be an expensive, painful , taxpayer funded, nightmare…..

    No.
    ICBC was a great idea. Almost a “co op” insurance plan….that quickly morphed into the cash cow/dumpster fire of today
    When you have politicians that make promises they cant fund….. and bean counter bureaucrats that realize….ICBC could be a huge cash generator for every expensive promise ……
    Doesnt take a rocket scientist to know where the money goes……
    ICBC
    Its a great idea run by politicians with their own vote buying agendas…..

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