Private car insurance had many drawbacks

I readily agree that some executives of ICBC are overpaid. But that is no reason to go back to private car insurance.

Editor: Re: The editorial about privatizing ICBC (The Times, Aug. 21).

I take issue with the statement “there is no real need to have government operate a car insurance company that forces all drivers to buy basic car insurance.” If the writer of that sentence had his car smashed into by a driver without insurance, he or she would yell his head off.

One of several reasons ICBC was instituted was that, under private insurance, there were people driving around without insurance. How would you like to be put into a wheelchair for life by someone with no insurance?

As to whether “most good drivers would see their premiums reduced if there was true competition in all aspects of car insurance,” that is a very debatable point. Even if true, the lesser cost would not be enough to nullify all the bad points of private car insurance.

Why should insurance companies be able to give only “some” good drivers better rates? Why not all of them?

Unlike ICBC, private companies do not just look at a driver’s record. They look at a raft of other things, A driver can have an excellent record and still pay plenty for private insurance. Because of competition, private insurers have to put drivers into statistical risk categories.

In addition to all the information they require from people, they can cancel your insurance without giving you the reason. ICBC can’t cancel it as long as you have your driver’s licence.

Once insurance is cancelled, you can be in big trouble. If you are buying a car on a conditional sales agreement, when the insurance is cancelled, the finance company will want full payment of the balance owing. If you can’t pay, they will repossess your car.

In the bad old days of private insurance, there were many repos on car lots.

When there was private insurance, you had additional problems when involved in a collision. There was no convenient claims centre. You had to go around to several body shops, get estimates, and then take them back to your agent. If you didn’t like the work done by the body shop, but the adjuster thought it was good enough, you had to argue with the body shop. ICBC made all body shops come up to a standard.

Then there were legal hassles in court, Lawyers of one company were fighting the other, with you in between.

I readily agree that some executives of ICBC are overpaid. But that is no reason to go back to private car insurance.


G. Simpson,