UPDATED: ICBC fights back against claims that it’s ‘ripping off’ B.C. RV drivers

Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging the provincial government to open up ICBC to competition

The province’s auto insurer is fighting back over accusations from a taxpayers’ group that it’s “ripping off” people who drive RVs.

Kris Sims, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said in a release on Thursday drivers in B.C. pay $1,000 more to insure a recreational vehicle than their Albertan peers.

Calling ICBC a “bloated government monopoly,” Sims provided a copy of insurance estimates for the same RV in both provinces, showing the cost in Alberta at $413, compared to the B.C. sum of $1,434.

But an ICBC official said it’s not a fair comparison because the corporation provided “better value” to customers than private insurers in Alberta.

“What’s frustrating is that they don’t provide context to their numbers,” said spokesperson Joanna Linsangan.

“The quote they provide for B.C. seems like for a person who chose to purchase a more comprehensive insurance package, whereas the Alberta one could very well be for someone who chose the bare minimum.”

READ MORE: Crashes reach ‘all-time high’ across B.C.: ICBC

READ MORE: ICBC in ‘financial dumpster fire’: minister

“Most B.C. drivers already pay the highest gasoline prices in North America and they can’t even escape to the wilderness in their motorhomes without getting ripped off by ICBC,” said Sims.

The federation is urging the province to change ICBC into a co-op and open it up to competition.

Linsangan said ICBC was created because many people in B.C. were driving without insurance.

“A public insurance model that ensures all drivers have the most basic level of insurance protects anyone who is in a crash,” she said. “In other places, you can see as many as one in five cars driving uninsured. Here in B.C., it’s one per cent.”

She pointed to the ever-growing number of crashes in B.C. – which in 2017 hit a peak of 350,000 annually – as raising insurance premiums for drivers.

“Whether you have a public insurance system or a co-op, the fact of the matter is, crashes are going up in B.C., and crash rates have a direct impact in what people pay for their insurance.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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