ICBC has its advantages

Granted, we do not have the cheapest rates in the country, but have you looked at the price of real estate in Vancouver lately?

Editor: One should be careful for what one wishes for. In reference to The Times editorial about ICBC (Aug. 21), I would like to point out how a little bit of research work by the writer would have helped ferret out the truth.

The truth of the matter is that ICBC is in its third year of a $500 million transformation project to bring its 1972 computer platform into the 21st century. Of the 200-plus managers hired in the past four years, only 31 were actually there to do day-to-day management and the balance were hired specifically for the transformation project.

Over the next one to three years, most of them would have been let go as their contributions to the project ended.

I also have to question the writer’s opinion, as far as having true competition for our auto insurance premiums. The editorial complains about all the dollars being siphoned off by the provincial government to pay for ongoing services provided in this province.

Would the writer be far happier if those same dollars were siphoned off to pay the shareholders of those numerous private companies, and have the money dispersed around the world as dividends?

As far as ICBC being non-competitive, one should look closely at the facts. Granted, we do not have the cheapest rates in the country, but have you looked at the price of real estate in Vancouver lately?

In addition to all the road improvements that ICBC contributes to on an annual basis to reduce accidents (private companies certainly don’t), ICBC also offers one of the only true tort systems in Canada for bodily injury claims. That might be the reason our basic rates are going up 11 per cent, not the lack of competition.

Maybe the editorial writer would rather we have a system like Ontario, where there is a constant battle between the government and the companies over rate increases, with companies pulling out when they can’t make money.

Don’t get me started on the billion dollars of fraud involved around their bodily injury system, or the 40,000 people waiting for arbitration on their bodily injury claims. ICBC may have its warts but one should be careful what one wishes for.

Andrew Tablotney, president,

IBABC (Insurance Brokers

Association of BC)