Some things just need to be said...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Keep Public Insurance

Public Auto Insurance vs Private

Just when are people going to stop challenging the merits of public vs private auto insurance. The math is there for all of us to see. It has been since day one in BC. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, ICBC was created by the BC NDP government in 1973 under heavy critisim from the private sector insurance companies and the right wing political parties including Social Credit, BC Liberal and BC Conservatives.

Social Credit pulled in considerable financial support from the private insurance companies in the 1975 provincial election with an expectation ICBC would be closed down. It did not happen when "conservative" Bill Bennett became premier. Not in the twenty years of Social Credit government did they close down ICBC.

Recently an independent study was released that clearly shows insurance is cheaper in BC under public auto insurance than it is in Alberta. The study stated the average insurance costs in Alberta amount to 30% more.

The average auto insurance rate in Alberta was $1,714 while it was $1,324 in BC. To compare rates between the two provinces the study used 800,000 rate quotes in Alberta and British Columbia across 300 rating groups representing the key variables such as age, gender, vehicle, location, driving record and insurer. By far the largest study ever into insurance rates between public and private.

Alberta users were hit hard over the last few years as were drivers in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces. BC Public Insurance Rates have been consistently lower than Ontario for more than a decade, averaging saving to consumers of between 50 and 27 percent.

ICBC does this while providing cheaper coverage for youth and seniors. Alberta, Ontario and other provinces have brought in limits on insurance claims, making the liability issue less onerous for the private companies. No such limit applies in BC.

British Columbians have received better value for insurance dollar spent than anywhere in Canada. The BC Liberals have been looking at the possibility of privatising much of ICBC's business when they were elected in 2001. They appointed a chair of the board in Nick Greer. He was given the mandate to change ICBC and provide more competition in BC. The government was told by Greer that ICBC was extreme value and ought not to be touched. Greer left ICBC shortly there after.

Will the Liberals maintain the status quo or will they attempt to pay off the large corporate insurance companies that have been generously donating to Campbell and company. Many reading this will be too young to recall this, but in 1960 and 1961 the Saskatchewan Liberal party was financially supported by the doctors and insurance companies in a bid to keep the government from creating Medicare.

Successive "Conservative" governments in BC have wanted to do this, they have a problem. People in BC have a good deal with ICBC and killing it off won't make many people very happy.


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Anonymous said...

ICBC could reduce premiums quite a bit if they added "no fault" as private companys have done.In BC lawyers that specialise in Suing ICBC for additional settlements are doing very well. They usually charge 50% of the settlement, or 50% of the settlement amount above what ICBC offered .The judges know this and many times award double what ICBC has offered. Cor

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