Stop the ICBC bleeding

There’s more than enough blame to go around.

People have a lot to say about ICBC.

But love it or hate it, one thing is certain: The business model is flawed.

This week, the government revealed just how unsustainable the crown corporation is.

According to Attorney General David Eby, if nothing is done premiums will have to rise $400 for every driver in the province for the corporation to break even.

Eby’s reaction follows news Sunday that ICBC is facing a $4 billion deficit. That’s a billion dollars more than what it was losing in 2014.

Eby called the situation “a dumpster fire” in need of immediate response.

That should come as little surprise to anyone following the corporation’s slow slide toward insolvency.

The government has already boosted basic insurance rates by 6.4 per cent in November in an effort to stop the hemorrhaging.

Eby says more needs to be done. In particular, he’s acting on recommendations made to the previous Liberal government that were ignored – measures that include capping minor injury awards and raising deductible rates.

But clearly the answer lies a bit deeper.

The problems facing ICBC come from multiple sources, including an unrelenting increase in the number of vehicle accidents on our streets, soaring accident claims and repair costs.

Studies have been done on ways to fix the problem. The most recent pointed to a 30 per cent hike in premiums – something the current government has rejected.

Others people are renewing calls for no-fault insurance or a return to privatization.

Whatever the answer it better come quickly. While politicians argue and fingers point, ICBC sinks further into debt.

Greg Knill, Chilliwack Progress

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