There are a number of reasons for ICBC withstanding losses, the most important of which may be that the provincial government regularly relieves ICBC of cash, much as the ants milk the aphids on my fava beans. This has been referred to as “taxation by stealth.”
Much of the expense ICBC has to deal with relates to the size and the speed of modern vehicles. SUVs now dominate the road. They are heavy and powerful, and there has been a resulting increase in the number of pedestians and cyclist who are injured.
There are a number of good reasons to maintain ICBC as our primary insurance carrier. The most important of these is the “no fault” coverage. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, ICBC will cover your losses and your injuries, and that’s it. Under the new rules you will carry additional responsibility ongoing if you have been a cause of the accident.
Prior to the advent of ICBC, and under the coverage of private insurance companies, you could expect to be caught up in an extended period of litigation as your insurance company squared off against the insurer of the other vehicle(s) involved in the accident. All of these additional legal costs became a part of your insurance premiums. Some of these insurance companies would dump you if you made a claim. Believe me, you don’t want to go back there.
As a Crown corporation, ICBC has the capability to influence local and provincial governments to correct deficiencies in the road network. Locations in the roadways that are unsafe and have contributed to accidents are corrected, funded in part by ICBC.
The corporation runs the graduated driver’s licence program. There is a natural incentive for ICBC to try to ensure that drivers are as safe on the roadways as possible.
Public service agencies, like ICBC, provide us with an avenue of collaboration and societal cohesion that is not otherwise available to us. They capitalize on the natural human desire to work together for the benefit of all. They see that some of us don’t fall through the cracks.
Look around you at some other societies that don’t permit these kinds of structures to exist, and you will see contrasting poverty and wealth. Public agencies exist in civilized societies. They show that we care for each other. Canadians are people like this.
Timothy Jones, Fort Langley