ICBC a 'financial dumpster fire,' says B.C. attorney general

B.C. Attorney General David Eby vowed Monday to make drastic changes to the ICBC, in a statement that was short on detail but long on condemnation for the previous B.C. Liberal government.

David Eby blames $1.3B losses at public auto insurer on previous B.C. Liberal government

B.C. Attorney General David Eby blames the financial crisis at ICBC on the former B.C. Liberal government. "They knew the dumpster was on fire but they pushed the dumpster behind the building." (Mike McArthur/CBC)

Calling the state of ICBC a "financial dumpster fire," B.C. Attorney General David Eby vowed Monday to make drastic changes to the province's automobile insurance industry.

But Eby said the province would not switch to a no-fault insurance system, preserving the rights of British Columbians to go to court over car accidents.

In a statement that was short on detail but long on condemnation for the previous Liberal government, Eby said he is looking instead at placing caps on payouts for minor injuries, improving road safety and making changes to deductibles for high-risk drivers.

ICBC is facing a financial loss of $1.3 billion by the end of the fiscal year, an astronomical increase from an amount that the previous government estimated at $11 million.

Eby accused the Liberals of deliberately concealing ICBC's problems from the public by taking out mentions of recommendations to counter losses from a 2014 review.

"They knew the dumpster was on fire, but they pushed it behind the building instead of trying to put the fire out," Eby said.

Eby accused the Liberals of siphoning a billion dollars out of the insurance corporation. 

He also claimed they removed pages from a consultant's report that would have revealed the extent of the problem, and said the previous government's actions appeared to have been made out of political considerations rather than public interest.

"That gap between what the the government was telling the public and the fiscal plan and the projections and the reality behind closed doors at ICBC is astounding," he said. "It is a remarkable and a profound gap."

ICBC is projected to lose $1.3 billion by fiscal year end. (David Horemans/CBC)

Over the weekend it was revealed the public auto insurer had accumulated more than $900 million in net losses between April 1 and Dec. 31 of 2017.

In September, ICBC announced an average annual rate hike of eight per cent, or approximately $130 per year per driver.

Eby said "major reforms to make ICBC financially viable again" will be announced in the weeks ahead.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.