Our View: ICBC issue has festered too long

B.C.’s public insurer’s crisis is one of the new government’s first major challenges.

It’s been a while since ICBC had any major shakeups.

Now one is vitally necessary.

The NDP government has been in office just weeks and is finding all the problems the Liberals swept under the rug. Chief among them is the mess at ICBC.

A report – prepared six months ago but not released until well after the election – shows that the agency will be far into the red unless rates jump, or its practices change drastically.

Perhaps things wouldn’t be as bad now if the Liberals hadn’t used ICBC as their piggy bank for years. They took more than $1.2 billion since 2010.

Now David Eby, who is overseeing ICBC, is promising to address the problems without sending rates sky high.

Simply ending the hand in the till practices will help.

But beyond that, ICBC does need reform. Crash rates are rising, new cars are more expensive (and more expensive to fix) and there’s some evidence that B.C. is overpaying compared to other provinces for some injuries.

Eby seems likely to aim at some low-hanging fruit first, though. Dangerous and bad drivers are likely to see their rates go up, and soon.

We’d also like to suggest some steep hikes in particular for people who combine extremely expensive cars with bad habits on the road.

We’ve seen too many incidents of street racing in $100,000 cars, and of people in expensive rides blowing through school zones. If they can afford to be careless with other people’s lives, they can afford to see their insurance hiked dramatically.

– M.C.

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