Solutions are being sought for ICBC's financial woes. (THE NEWS/files)

BC Conservatives call for auto insurance co-op

Maple Ridge drivers facing higher costs for coverage

The BC Conservatives is echoing the solution being advocated by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation for ICBC: Turn it into a member-owned insurance cooperative.

The government insurance company is on track to lose $1.3 billion as injury claims mount.

“ICBC has turned into a train wreck and a national embarrassment,” said Scott Anderson, interim leader of the BC Conservatives, Tuesday. “The Liberals used it as a piggy bank and the NDP’s answer is to raise rates, just as they plan to raise taxes. Neither one is acceptable.”

The release said that BC Conservatives would turn ICBC into a co-operative, ensuring that drivers who pay premiums will be the ones who own the organization. “A co-operative will work in drivers’ best interest, rather than serving the government of the day.”

The party also would open the industry to private competition, to help drive rates lower.

On its website, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation calls on people to sign an open letter to B.C. Premier John Horgan saying it ICBC should become a (member-owned) co-op and calling for the auto insurance industry to be open to “full competition” between private companies and a new ICBC Coop.

The federation says that drivers don’t want photo radar or to limits on payouts on injury claims.

NDP Attorney General David Eby said Monday that ICBC’s finances are a “financial dumpster fire” and called for limits on injury payouts and higher deductible amounts.