EDITORIAL: ICBC’s monopoly

It's unclear what B.C. drivers benefit from having no competition for auto insurance

We’re No. 2! It’s a not a list British Columbians want to lead, however.

After Ontario, drivers in B.C. pay more, on average, for auto insurance than people in any other province. In fact, three of the top four are provinces with public insurance, also known as a monopoly.

We went for an Internet ride to seek a list of the average auto insurance costs by province. We found a few, some on private company websites, others through independent sources.

The list, from top to bottom, was the same on all of them, which tells us it’s pretty solid.

So, Ontario is first, as in most expensive, followed by B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the latter three being public/monopoly situations.

We went on this search after receiving a news release from the Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC). The good people at ICBC wanted to share how much money they are pouring back into Parksville.

ICBC invested $39,000 on road improvement projects in Parksville in 2014. Almost half of that ($17,400) was spent at the weigh scales, which really aren’t in Parksville and not exactly a frequent destination of 95 per cent of the city’s residents.

The rest of the money was spent on the intersection of Drew Road and Highway 19A — you know, the new lights in French Creek close to the Home Hardware. No, fine folks at ICBC, that intersection isn’t in Parksville.

Let’s forget for a moment the people of ICBC are clearly geography-challenged.

Instead, let’s have a look at what Parksville drivers likely paid in car insurance in 2014. Most sources suggest the average paid by B.C. drivers annually to ICBC is a little more than $1,100. Let’s be conservative, and help with the math, by calling it an even $1,000. Let’s also be conservative and suggest there are 6,000 vehicles in this city of about 12,000 people.

Using those numbers, Parksville drivers send $6 million to ICBC every year. And in 2014 got back $39,000 worth of road improvements that aren’t within the city limits.

We find it difficult to come up with any reason why this ICBC monopoly situation is a good thing for the people of B.C.

— Editorial by John Harding

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