In the last seven years, ICBC has sent $1.2 billion into the province’s general revenue fund, says Attorney General David Eby, which has been one of the factors contributing to unprecedented red ink for the Crown corporation.
“It’s unacceptable for government to treat ICBC like an ATM machine – and it cost B.C. drivers more than a billion dollars,” Eby said, in a press release. “Our priority is to make sure that affordability for good drivers always comes first.”
ICBC had its largest financial loss in the organization’s history last year, losing more than $500 million in 12 months. High accident rates and record payouts have also contributed to the poor fiscal situation.
“Drastic action is needed to fix ICBC’s devastating financial crisis, but B.C. drivers should not be forced to pay 20 per cent basic rate hikes today because of mismanagement that goes back years,” Eby said.
But drivers will be paying more. There will be a 6.4 per cent basic-rate increase this year, which is lower than the 20 per cent rate hike that was recommended by the report commissioned by the previous government and released in July 2017.
The overall optional rate will be increased by 3.1 per cent in the first quarter with subsequent quarterly increases of 2.2 per cent, to a maximum of 9.6 per cent. Individual policy rates will depend on the age of the vehicle, value and use of a vehicle, and where it is being driven. For an average driver, this is an annual blended increase between basic and optional of eight per cent, or $130.
Immediate measures include an operational audit of ICBC, rolling out 24-hour red-light cameras at high-collision intersections, and a pilot program of new technologies to eliminate distracted driving among high-risk groups.
“Our commitment to British Columbians is to make life more affordable for them – forcing 20 per cent rate increases on drivers is a non-starter,” Eby said. “Our government is working overtime to clean up the mess we inherited in a way that minimizes impacts on drivers.”