BC's Auto Insurance System: Not "Perfect" But Better than Most
In response to criticism of BC’s auto insurance rates ICBC’s CEO Jon Schubert recently commented that while BC’s auto insurance system is not“perfect” it works due to it’s robust compensation rights. Jon provided the following comments:
You can travel across Canada and find a range of public and private auto insurance and diverse arguments both for and against each system. We believe our system in British Columbia works for a number of reasons. We know some provinces offer lower-priced auto insurance but we also know some others offer higher-priced auto insurance — including some with private insurance. Any discussion on insurance should be based not just on what you pay but what you get for your money. Our medical and rehab benefits, for example, are three times more than those offered in Alberta….
This is one instance where I agree with ICBC. While I won’t get into the debate about whether a system of private auto insurance is better than public insurance, one thing BC has done right is keeping a full tort system in place.
While other Provinces have stripped the rights of those injured to the benefit of insurance company profits, British Columbia has continued to preserve the right of victims to seek full lawful compensation when injured through the fault of other’s carelessness.
It is artificial to compare BC rates to those of other Provinces without looking behind the rates to the rights of auto-collision victims to seek compensation. As an example, if a person suffers severe soft tissue injuries in BC due to another person’s careless driving they can seek meaningful damages for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
The same injuries have been artificially capped in Provinces such as Alberta and Nova Scotia. Ontario has also limited collision victim compensation rights and in a double blow are looking to reduce access to no-fault benefits. Other Provinces like Manitoba and Saskatchewan have gone so far as to strip collision victims of the right to to sue for damages and instead instituted a WCB-like no-fault system.
Low rates are a good thing and provided the Government does not continue to raid ICBC’s revenues there is no reason why British Columbians could not continue to enjoy competitive rates and meaningful compensation rights when injured through the fault of others.