KAMLOOPS — "A financial dumpster fire."
That's how BC Attorney General David Eby described the financial woes at ICBC during a news conference Monday.
Over the weekend ICBC projected $1.3 billion in net losses by the end of the current fiscal year.
The public auto insurer said there is evidence of growing financial pressure coming from a rapid increase in the number of collisions and the rising costs of those claims while Eby suggested political interference also played a role.
"This is quite simply a financial dumpster fire. British Columbians deserve the truth, no matter how brutal the news is. Years of reckless decisions by the former government have undermined ICBC's ability to deliver low-cost insurance to British Columbians."
Eby said in recent years it has "become common knowledge that ICBC was being politically directed in a way that was not sustainable."
"Including government taking more than a billion dollars out of the corporation. Last week we learned that three years ago the government received clear warning and recommendations from independent consultants that could have prevented these massive losses yet the previous government did not act," said Eby.
"Not only did they reject the recommendations it seems they scrubbed the recommendations and warnings from a report presented to the public. They knew the dumpster was on fire but they pushed it behind the building instead of trying to put the fire out."
Eby said the NDP government is now considering its options following the grim financial news and says plans will be rolled out during the spring legislative session. He said if they don't take action B.C. drivers will face a $400 premium hike just to get ICBC to break even though he said his government won't allow that to happen.
Eby noted possible changes will focus on keeping rates affordable whereby high-risk drivers pay more and low-risk drivers pay less. He also said legal and autobody repair costs must be cut and focus ICBC resources on providing more care for those hurt in crashes. Eby said no-fault insurance will not be considered.
He said former government ministers Mike de Jong and Todd Stone have a lot to answer for on this matter.
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