August 10, 2005

Consumers’ Association calls on ICBC to reduce B.C. auto insurance rates

Ottawa, Ontario – The Consumers’ Association of Canada has called on the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) to make further cuts to auto insurance rates for B.C. drivers, following news of record profits.

“ICBC again announced record profits last Friday,” said Bruce Cran, president of the Consumers’ Association. “By the end of this year, ICBC will be sitting on a massive cash hoard of more than a billion dollars which has come straight from the pockets of B.C. consumers. ICBC was never set up to generate massive profits, then keep the money.”

ICBC is a non-profit corporation with a mandate to offer the lowest rates possible, Cran said. Answering why the ICBC was “hoarding” the money, Cran said, “The reason is that ICBC continues to be a political pawn of the Provincial Government. The B.C. government has ordered ICBC to generate massive profits and retain the money, rather than immediately lowering rates.”

The B.C. Government ordered ICBC to build up its financial reserves to the same level as private insurers. No other province with a public auto insurance system requires this same level of reserves.

“These huge reserves result in excessively high rates for consumers and businesses in British Columbia,” said Cran. “The B.C. Government decided to ‘level the playing field’ by fixing ICBC’s rates artificially high in order to enable private insurers to compete.”

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