Ride-hailing services like Uber could come to B.C. by fall 2019. (Mark Warner/Flickr)

Letter: ‘ICBC’s monopoly comes at a cost’

Eliminate it to ensure best insurance prices.

Editor, The News:

The B.C. government recently announced that ride-sharing is finally coming to the province.

Unfortunately, it won’t be coming to B.C. until late 2019 because ICBC needs that long – a year – to get its insurance rules in place.

While the demand for ride-sharing in B.C. has been clear for many years, ICBC’s inability to design an insurance product in a timely manner means more delays and poorer service for British Columbians.

In stark contrast, Canada’s private insurers have been providing insurance to the ride-sharing firms, like Uber and Lyft, in other provinces for several years, and could quickly bring these products to B.C., if allowed. It is only ICBC’s monopoly that prevents them from doing so.

Any monopoly breeds complacency and nowhere is this more obvious than at ICBC. And the problem isn’t just in ride-sharing.

British Columbia drivers pay more for auto insurance than drivers anywhere else in Canada. It’s not surprising then that 78 per cent of drivers say they want more choice. They recognize that the very expensive ICBC monopoly must end.

When competing for your business, companies must continually innovate, develop new products and endlessly strive to deliver the best possible service because they have to or they won’t survive. It’s not rocket science.

Auto insurance is no exception, and ending ICBC’s monopoly and opening up B.C.’s auto insurance marketplace is the best way to ensure drivers receive the best insurance product at the best price.

Make no mistake: ICBC’s monopoly comes at a cost.

Research shows that introducing competition could save drivers up to $325 annually on their auto insurance, and bring some much-needed relief to drivers across the province who are struggling to afford today’s premiums.

With continued financial losses and rising prices, it’s clear that BC’s auto insurance system is a relic. The time has come for real change, and that means giving British Columbians a real choice. It’s time to end ICBC’s monopoly.

Aaron Sutherland,

VP, Pacific Region

Insurance Bureau of Canada

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