Vancouver, British Columbia -- April 9, 2018 -- British Columbian autobody shops can breathe slightly more easily after a new report was issued about the financial crisis facing the Insurance Company of British Columbia (ICBC).
Months after Attorney General David Eby promised to investigate claims that widespread insurance fraud, the provincial government has found a much more plausible culprit for the fiscal mess facing the public insurer – the previous administration.
Even the Fraser Institute, a right-wing think-tank which opposes much of the NDP’s platform, agrees with the assessment.
Written by Simon Fraser University professor John Chant, the report agrees with estimations that the ICBC’s losses have totaled $1.3 billion over the past 12 months, but suggests that losses from the previous year were even higher than previous reports had suggested, coming in at $889 million.
While the report placed most of the blame for the crisis at the feet of the Liberal government, it was surprisingly warm about the approach taken by their left-leaning successors.
"The current government deserves credit for bringing the issue forward and seeking informed advice. Band-aid solutions will not be enough to fix its problems."
The NDP government has enacted a number of measures to make the corporation solvent, including easing fiscal regulations for the company that would have, if left unchanged, rendered it unable to operate. The province has also directed the company to raise its rates and enact new measures designed to punish bad drivers in order to ease the bills for good ones.
While the province is looking to install a new set of traffic cameras in order to reduce road accidents and limit claims against the ICBC, police have already begun stepping up their efforts to enforce road safety. It is unclear that these efforts – and the threat of punitive insurance premium prices – are deterring all B.C. drivers.
One Vancouver driver was ticketed for distracted driving twice in seven minutes – a breach of the rules of the road which may add as much as $2,000 to the driver’s insurance premiums.