OUR VIEW: Province paves way for insurance hikes

We say: Luxury car insurance announcement a diversion tactic

If a motorist acted as recklessly on the road as the provincial government has handled ICBC, there’s little doubt their licence would have been revoked long ago.

The B.C. Liberal government announced last week that owners of luxury cars worth more than $150,000 will soon have to insure their vehicles through private companies. Transportation Minister Todd Stone said the move will ensure that regular ratepayers weren’t subsidizing high-end cars.

It was noted that the average repair cost for a luxury car involved in a crash is $13,000, only slightly less than the entire cost of an average vehicle in B.C., valued at $15,000. Stone did not explain how no one in government had noticed the vast discrepancy between luxury car premiums and repair costs before now.

Apart from delivering a shock to B.C.’s super rich that the free ride (OK, subsidized ride) was coming to an end, the announcement helped to provide a distraction from the other news that basic insurance rates could climb by as much as 42 per cent in the next five years.

The ICBC forecast shows basic rates are predicted to increase 6.4 per cent in 2017, 7.9 per cent in 2018, 9.4 per cent in 2019 and 7.9 per cent in 2020 – numbers that compound to 42 per cent when this year’s 4.9 per cent hike is included.

Stone called that an extreme scenario and ICBC had opposed the release, calling the numbers hypothetical and “potentially misleading.”

Drivers who have never been involved in an accident continue to watch their premiums rise to cover the costs of unsafe drivers, and apparently, owners of luxury cars.

Those premiums have also gone towards the $1.2 billion in dividends the province has transferred into general revenue over the last several years.

“What we’re seeing are the consequences of Christy Clark treating ICBC as a bank machine. And it’s drivers who are going to pay,” said Adrian Dix, the NDP critic for ICBC.

The mishandling of ICBC is sure to be an issue that drives many voters to the polls in next spring’s provincial election.

– Black Press