BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson won’t let facts get in the way of his drive to privatize car insurance in BC, even if it results in double-digit rate hikes.
When Wilkinson was BC Liberal Party President in 2001, he oversaw an election platform calling for “greater competition into auto insurance to create increased choice and reduce motor vehicle premiums.”
But after the election, a review of ICBC warned that Wilkinson’s plan to open competition would lead to a “significant rate shock” and that “ICBC’s value would deteriorate and would eventually result in financial insolvency and a negative impact to the government’s bottom line.”
Finance Minister Gary Collins concluded at the time that “if we just blew up ICBC and moved everything into competition, rates would go up double digits. That is not in the best interest of the people of British Columbia.” (Vancouver Sun, 2002)
Even the Insurance Bureau of Canada admitted in their own 2018 MNP report that drivers under 35 would pay at least 18% more for private insurance than they do with ICBC.
Despite all of this, Wilkinson is pushing to move BC to the private model that recently resulted in double digit hikes in Alberta and the highest rates in the country in Ontario – as high as 62 per cent for one family.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada, the biggest booster of a private insurance scheme, has donated $183,210 to the BC Liberals, including $5,000 to Wilkinson’s leadership campaign.
Despite Wilkinson’s long-held support for private insurance, he could take advice from his old friend Gordon Campbell, who rejected privatization:
“I don’t think there’s any point in being ideological about this. What’s important is B.C. motorists have the lowest possible rates. You do that by managing ICBC in a professional manner.” (Trail Times 2002)