BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson made his second stop to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows riding since the election began, to announce he would end ICBC’s monopoly on vehicle insurance if his party forms government.
“A consistent theme we hear in this campaign, is that people are really fed up with ICBC,” said Wilkinson, adding B.C. drivers spend more on auto insurance than anywhere in Canada.
He said rates have increased $620 per driver on average over a three-year period.
“This is a major affordability issue, because it’s a monopoly – you have no choice. We’re going to change that,” he said.
He said after 46 years of “state control” by ICBC, he would introduce competition for all forms of auto insurance.
“Let the private market enter the market, so that we can get competition, and people can shop around for the rate that best suits them and the coverage that best suits them,” said Wilkinson.
He noted drivers could get private insurance, or choose to stay with the ICBC no fault system.
“Just like they do in Saskatchewan. It works there, and it’ll work here.”
Liberal candidates Cheryl Ashlie (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows) and Chelsa Meadus (Maple Ridge-Mission) were also at the press conference. The two ridings are considered key battlegrounds in this provincial election, as both swung from the Liberal party to the NDP during the last provincial election.
An NDP media release on Tuesday morning said evidence from other provinces shows private insurance costs more, and makes it harder for many drivers to get coverage.
Wilkinson was critical of the NDP government for not giving drivers a refund, based on low accident rates during the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown early in 2020.
“The excessive premiums charged by ICBC are your money. It does not belong to the NDP to use as an election tool,” he said, adding refunds were made during the summer elsewhere in Canada.
“You are entitled to that money.”