YOUR VIEW: ICBC union says private insurance wouldn’t be much better

COPE vice-president says the real problem is the government which takes profits and pours them into general revenues

Anyone who thinks privatizing ICBC is the answer to higher rates must not have taken a look at comparable auto insurance coverage or the even more excessive executive salaries in the private sector.

Independent studies by Statistics Canada and the Consumers Association of Canada have shown public auto insurance gives the best value to customers. Since ICBC was established on March 1, 1974, British Columbians have enjoyed reduced insurance fraud, safer roads and lower rates. Part of this is because, ICBC was designed to operate on a non-profit, break-even basis.

So where is the real issue? Executive salaries at ICBC are too high and should be dealt with, but that’s only exacerbated in the private sector.

The biggest problem at ICBC, is that the government hasn’t stayed true to ICBC’s break-even mandate. Christy Clark’s government is treating ICBC as their cash cow, raiding over $1.2 billion from the corporation’s coffers even as they ask ICBC workers to continue their wage freeze and B.C. drivers to pay higher insurance premiums.

That money isn’t even going into improving roads or transportation – it’s going into general revenue.

If there are any savings coming out of the government review, how do we know they won’t just be funneled right back into government coffers? British Columbians need to know savings will be used to reduce rates for drivers and keep the unionized workforce at ICBC from falling further behind.

When Manitoba’s public insurer was found to have overcharged its customers, they gave everyone a rebate. The government’s mismanagement of ICBC hurts both their employees and B.C. drivers. Siphoning off ICBC’s profits was never what was intended for our public insurance corporation.

Jeff Gillies, COPE 378 Vice-President

 

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