Wednesday, January 30, 2008

MLA calls for an explanation over increased insurance rates

ICBC has a surprise for many British Columbian drivers this year, as new insurance rates for drivers in some parts of the province are on the way up.

And nothing is like a gift from heaven for a politician than a rate increase!
NDP MLA Gary Coons takes on ICBC and the provincial government over the latest developments from the car insurance corporation and for good measure manages to tie in the latest mess with BC Ferries to his debating points.

It makes for a bit of double dipping from the vast pool of the outrage department.

The Daily News provided the thoughts of the North Coast MLA in Tuesday’s paper.

Explain 'shameless' ICBC cash grab demands Coons
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Page Five

Increased insurance rates for drivers through Insurance Corporation British Columbia is being called a "shameless cash grab" by the NDP party, and North Coast MLA Gary Coons is also asking for a reasonable explanation for the hikes.

"This government has consistently refused to step in to protect the interest of British Columbians," said Coons.

"Whether it is skyrocketing ferry fares or car insurance rate hikes, the Campbell government has made it clear they don't care that these costs make life more difficult for individuals and families."

It was announced last week that insurance rates for drivers in parts of the Lower Mainland would be increasing by between three and five per cent a year, a decision ICBC officials said reflect statistics that show more cars on the road lead to more accidents.

New Democrat ICBC critic Harry Lali called the explanation a lame excuse to raise rates, claiming that although traffic had increased, it was not enough to justify any hikes. Coons joined in the criticism after more news last week that the B.C. Utilities Commission had approved ICBC's request for a new $25 charge for each non-principal driver per household.

"Where is the justification for this new charge?" asked Coons. "The reason we have public car insurance in British Columbia is to keep car ownership affordable, and to ensure that everyone in the province has access to coverage, not provide a cash cow to overpaid executives."

ICBC reported a profit of $256 million for the first six months of 2007, which amounts to a 132 per cent increase over the previous year for the same period. In the same time, the performance pay for ICBC executives increased by 30 per cent, something Coons and the rest of the NDP say is an injustice to B.C. motorists.

"Judging from the huge increases in ICBC's revenues last year, this cash grab isn't financially necessary," said Coons. "If the Campbell government had any sense, they would step in and halt this assault on British Columbia's drivers."

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