British Columbia

High ICBC expense claim concerns minister

A CBC News report about an unusually large expense payout for a former executive has prompted the provincial minister responsible for the Insurance Corporation of B.C. to ask for a review of the corporation's financial practices.

NDP calls for postponement of 2012 rate increase pending review

B.C.'s government asked for a stepped-up review of the insurance corporation's financial practices 3:13

The provincial minister responsible for the Insurance Corporation of B.C. is asking for a review of the corporation's financial practices, following a CBC News report that revealed a huge expense account payout to a former executive.

"I've asked the finance minister to consider moving forward on the ICBC review, and I think ratepayers in the province would expect us to do that," said B.C. Solicitor General Shirley Bond Wednesday.

The Tuesday report revealed that Art Kirkner — hired in 2008 as an ICBC vice-president from the U.S. to help cut costs in ICBC’s claim centre system — filed $188,681 in expenses in 2010 on top of his salary and bonuses of more than $315,000.

That meant Kirkner, one of 15 ICBC vice-presidents, drew total compensation only a few hundred dollars shy of that of corporation President and CEO Jon Schubert.

A breakdown of Kirkner's 2010 expenses provided to CBC News by ICBC showed he was compensated $88,500 for the loss on the sale of his home in the U.S.; $18,780 for real estate commission; more than $13,000 for moving and storage; more than $10,000 for temporary accommodations, plus other expenses.

Kirkner left ICBC in July and received 12 months severance pay.

Premium increases sought

News of the payout comes on the heels of an announcement that ICBC is seeking to increase B.C. driver premiums in the new year.

Bond said the combination of reports could erode the public's confidence in ICBC management.

"I've laid out my expectations very clearly to Jon Schubert and to ICBC that, certainly at a time when ratepayers in British Columbia are facing potential increases, that there is a responsibility on the part of ICBC to look to find every efficiency possible," said Bond.

The expected insurance premium increase should be postponed, B.C. NDP ICBC critic Kathy Corrigan said Wednesday.

"I think we need to take a closer look at ICBC," Corrigan said. "If there's going to be a review, it should happen before there is a rate hike."

With files from the CBC Eric Rankin