Talking BC Insurance Rates; Let's Be Intellectually Honest
On October 28, 2011, Coquitlam Now published an article by Neil Mohinrda, the director of the Centre for Financial Policy Studies at the Fraser Institute. The article was titled “Maintaining ICBC a disservice to BC drivers“.
In short Mr. Mohinrda discussed the perceived virtues of private insurance while criticizing the perceived short-comings of public insurance. While I’m never opposed to a private/public auto insurance debate, or to scrutiny of auto insurance premiums, what the one-sided article is sorely missing is a discussion of what people get for their money in different Canadian Jurisdictions.
I’ve addressed this topic before. A meaningful discussion of insurance rates simply can’t be had without looking at the product. Furthermore the private insurance industry is quick to call for the stripping of victim rights in order to have a functioning system. BC’s experience demonstrates this is far from necessary.
I was glad to see that Mr. Mohindra’s article was quickly called out for its short-comings. You can click here to read the criticism raised by Kellee Irwin, ICBC’s Vice President of Personal Insurance who correctly points out that
Mr. Mohindra’s column mentions Alberta on a couple of occasions. While you may be able to get a cheaper insurance premium there, they fail to point out that our customers’ medical and rehab benefits are three times more than those offered in Alberta, New Brunswick and Ontario. In comparison to our $150,000 in medical and rehab coverage in B.C., those three provinces offer $50,000 while Nova Scotia provides $25,000.
If we’re making comparisons between provinces, which we agree is difficult to do, it should also be noted that drivers in Alberta, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are limited in what payments they can receive. Those provinces have systems that are variously based on caps or deductibles on pain and suffering awards. This is not the case in B.C., where drivers are entitled to take the at-fault party to court for damages
For more analysis you can click here for a good overview from a BC lawyer who previously practiced in a private insurance jurisdiction and shares some observations of the private insurance industry.