Articles

Taxpayers Federation Wrong; BC Auto Rates Fourth Lowest, Not Second Highest. September 8, 2017.

Comparing auto insurance prices across provincial jurisdictions is a difficlut task. Occasional Paper No.40 shows that the methodology used by Mike Milke in a recent Canadian Taxpayer Federation report is flawed.

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Devlin Report on Insurance Regimes in Canada, July 2017. September 8, 2017.

Dr. Rose Devlin's 25 July 2017 report "A Comparison of Automoble Regimes in Canada" is posted with the permission of the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia.

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Government Hikes Basic Rates 6.4% and Optional 9.6%; Multi-Year Plan to Restore ICBC's Finances. September 5, 2017.

Attorney General David Eby unveiled the 2017 Basic and Optional rate increases, and outlined a multi-year plan to restore ICBC's finances, with regular reports on progress; http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/attorney-general-to-announce-changes-to-insurance-corp-of-b-c and http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/icbc-rate-increases-eby-1.4275970 and http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/icbc-rates-to-rise-6-4-per-cent-typical-motorist-to-pay-57-more-1.22443523

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Observations on ICBC's 2016/17 Annual Report. September 1, 2017.

The recently released 2016/17 annual report shows that the financial condition at the public insurer is going from bad to worse, as outlined in Occasional Paper No. 39.

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Further Questions About the Ernst Young Report on ICBC. August 20, 2017.

A more detailed review of the Ernst Young report raises serious concerns about the costing methodology, and the savings that might be achieved by capping pain and suffering awards on minor injury claims. The are discussed in Occasional Paper No.38. 

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Ernst Young Options to Increase Auto Insurance Affordability. August 6, 2017.

This paper reviews the Ernst Young report's options to increase the affordability of auto insurance. It questions some of the proposed cost savings and recoomends the adoption of Saskatchewan's dual Basic model.

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Comments on the Financial Aspects of the Ernst Young Report. July 31, 2017.

My comments on the financail aspects of the July 10, 2017 Ernst Young report on ICBC are included in Occasional Paper N0. 36, distributed on July 30, 2017.

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The Ernst Young Report on ICBC and Early Reaction. July 25, 2017.

After being leaked to Postmedia, the government released the July 1o, 2017 Ernst Young report on ICBC; http://www.icbc.com/about-icbc/company-info/Documents/Affordable-and-Effective-AutoInsurance-Report.pdf CKNW interviews with Minister Eby, Liberal MLA Wilkinson and Richard McCandless;http://globalnews.ca/news/3620885/icbc-considering-raising-car-insurance-premiums-by-30-per-cent/ and Vaughn Palmer's comments  http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/vaughn-palmer-eby-considers-safer-technology-versus-hiking-icbc-rates. Chuck Byrne's (Insurance Brokers Association) comments; http://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/ca/news/auto/report-is-great-opportunity-for-icbc-to-bring-in-reforms-74363.aspx

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Geenhouse Gas Emission Report Needs Context. July 12, 2017.

This report provides some context about the absolute change in GHG emissions from 2005 to 2015; suggesting that a more in-depth review is required.

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Impact of Massive Hydroelectric Infrastructure Projects on Rates. July 5, 2017.

Occasional paper No. 34 reviews the likely impact of three major hydroelectric infrastructure projects on electricity rates.

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Options for Financing Site C. June 24, 2017

What impact will the Site C project, whether it proceeds or is cancelled, have on BC Hydro's operating budget, and what are the options to pay for it? Occasional Paper No. 33 provides a high-level look at these questions.

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Final Submission on BC Hydro's F17 to F19 Rate Request. June 8, 2017.

Given the pending change in government, I recommended that the BC Utilities Commission not approve any of the discreationary items in BC Hydro's F17 to F19 rate request.

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Manitoba Hydro Planning a Five-Year 46% Rate Increase -- Lessons for BC? June 2, 2017.

In May, Manitoba Hydro requested a rate increase of 7.9% for 2017 and 2018, with an indication of the same increase for the following three years. The publicly owned power utility is facing a major deterioration inits finances due to major capital projects and a flat demand. What lessons may a new government in BC learn from the Manitoba experience?

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Ontario Electricity Rate Suppression Plan. May 27, 2017.

This paper reviews the recent report of the Ontario Financial Accountability Office on that government's plan to use a deferral account to surpress electricity rates. A comparison to the revenue deferral practiced by BC Hydro is also provided.

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Fact Check - Bill Bennett Responds to My Tyee Article. May 4, 2017.

A Fact Check on Hon. Bill Bennett's comments on the Jon McComd (CKNW) show, commenting on rate increases and BC Hydro's debt.

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New Review of Auto Insurance System in Ontario. April 23, 2017.

A report by David Marshall recommends an over-haul of the Ontario system to focus on the management of injury claims to improve the efficieny and effectiveness of the auto insurance system. Useful, but the cross Canada premium comparisons are questionable. http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/autoinsurance/fair-benefits.pdf and https://news.ontario.ca/mof/en/2017/04/ontario-releases-report-on-auto-insurance.html

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Fact Check - Government Admits Major Rate Increases Coming for BC Hydro and ICBC. April 20, 2017.

On April 19th finance minister de Jong stated that the coming four-year rate increase requirement for BC Hydro is 28%, and close to 70% for ICBC's Basic program. The government's rate suppression policy has postponed the financial reckoning.

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New Study Recommends Suspension of Site C. April 19, 2017.

On April 19, 2017, the UBC Program on Water Governance released a comphrensive report on the economics of the Site C dam project;http://watergovernance.ca/projects/sitec/

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Party Platforms Impact on BC Hydro and ICBC. April 14, 2016.

This paper attempts to summarize the election platforms of the three main parties, and what they say or imply about BC Hydro and ICBC.

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ICBC Capital Depletion and Claims Backlog. April 9, 2017.

This paper reviews the last four years capital depletion and the growth in the claims backlog at ICBC.

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ICBC Gets Tough on Bad Drivers, and Tougher on Good Drivers. March 5, 2017

ICBC announced a toughing of its Basic insurance discounts for 2018, which will result in higher insurance for at-fault drivers; good drivers will be big losers.

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New Government Must Fix ICBC's Finances Soon. March 30, 2017.

A detailed review of ICBC's three-year forecast shows alarming loss of capital; immediate and longer-term initiatives are suggested to restore ICBC's finances to a healthy condition. 

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ICBC's Worsening Finances Require Government Action. March 24, 2017.

The new provincial government must make the restoration of ICBC's financial health a priority, as capital reserves are now below the regulatory minimums,and rake shock looms.

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Cold and Snowy Winter Helps BC Hydro - Hammers ICBC. March 19, 2017.

A review of the financial impacts of the cold and snowy winter on the finances of BC Hydro and ICBC.

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BC Hydro's Aggressive Revenue Tactics. March 15, 2017.

Big banks have been pursuing questionable tactics to enhance revenue and profits, but BC Hydro has a unique way to achieve its revenue targets.

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How Realistic is BC Hydro's 10-Year Plan? March 12, 2017.

This paper suggests that BC Hydro's annual target rate increase of 2.6% is optimistic, as is the 10-year financial plan.

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ICBC Fact Check Fraud Costing $600 million? March 9, 2017.

This Fact Check concludes that ICBC's claim that fraud is costing $600 million annually is significantly exggerated. 

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ICBC's Steve Crombie Interview Fact Check. March 9, 2017.

This paper reviews Mr. Crombie's comments in a recent interview as reported by Keith Baldrey in the Burnaby News of March 6, 2017.

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How BC Hydro Produces Record profits Despite Flat Demand. March 2, 2017.

This paper explores BC Hydro's flat domestic sales and its high profits during the last five years, and suggests that the recording of future ubapproved and unbilled revenue helps explain the healthy bottom line.

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ICBC Deficits-Question Period February 22, 2017. February 26, 2017.

Minister Stone attempts to defend ICBC's deficit forecasts during Question Period on February 22, 2017.

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ICBC's Forecasts for 2016/17 and 2017/18 Show Worsening Outlook. February 22, 2017.

ICBC's 3rd Quarter 2016/17 forecast, and the 2017/18 forecast show a worsening financial picture. No relief in the government's 2017/18 budget.

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Government Uses BC Hydro and ICBC to Lower Direct Debt. February 19, 2017.

In the last five years, the government has taken some $1.95 billion in dividends from BC Hydro, or "excess' capital from ICBC, to reduce its direct operating debt requirement. Occasional Paper No. 22 explains how this happened.

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Government Creates Unique Accounting System for BC Hydro. January 30, 2017.

This paper describes how an obscure 2011 cabinet directive allows BC Hydro to apply regulatory accounting without the fundamental componet -- an independent regulator.

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Submission to the BC Utilities Commission re ICBC Review. January 24, 2017.

My submission recommends that the BC Utilities Commission set expectations for ICBC's 2017 rate request, and includes data on forecasted rate requirements and comparisons of Basic rate increases with Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

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BC Hydro's Growing Pension Liability. January 14, 2017.

Richard McCandless wonders why BC Hydro has a large and growing pension liability; deferral accounting may provide a reason.

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Under-Reported BC Hydro Financial Stories from 2016. January 9, 2017.

Richard McCandless posts Occasional Paper No. 19 on some 2016 stories about BC Hydro's finances that were either under-reported, or recieved no media coverage.

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BC Hydro Quietly Posts Disappointing Q2 Results

My summary of BC Hydro's 2016 Q2 rseults, and a forecast to year-end.

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ICBC 2016 Basic Rate Request-Final Argument. December 20, 2016.

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds...."; Richard McCandless submits comments and recommendations to the BC Utilities Commission respecting ICBC's 4.9% Basic rate increase for 2016.

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Principles For Economic Regulation (UK) 2011. December 18, 2016.

This 2011 document was adopted as government policy. It contains useful detail on the principles governing the operation of public utility regulators in the UK.

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Understanding Regulation in the United Kingdom 2016. December 18, 2016.

Martin Stanley's compendium of issues relating to regulation of public utilities in the UK; http://www.regulation.org.uk/

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ICBC Basic Claims Costs 2012 to 2015. 12 December 2016.

This Occasional Paper (No. 18) reviews ICBC claims data from 2012 to 2015 to attempt to identify cost drivers. The outlook for the medium term is as discussed.

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BC Hydro Defends Recording of Future Unapproved Revenue. 2 December 2016.

Recently, the BC Utilities Commission asked BC Hydro whether its recording of future unapproved revenue conformed to accepted accounting principles. I forwarded BC Hydro's answer, together with my comments, to Auditor General Carol Bellringer.

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Premier Clark Wants 4.9% Rate Increase for 2016. 22 November 2016.

News 1130 story says Premier Clark fighting for affordable auto insurance rates.

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BC Hydro GWh Domestic Sales. 29 November 2016.

BC Hydro data on domestic sales 2006/07 to 2015/16 and three year forecast.

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Thoughts on Recent ICBC Events. 27 November 2016.

My thoughts and comments on recent events concerning ICBC's rates and financial condition.

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ICBC's Five Year Basic Forecast of 23 November 2016. 24 November 2016.

My preliminary impressions of ICBC's Basic forecast filed on 23 November 2016.

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Rate Suppression and Capital Destruction: ICBC Rate Shock Lurking. 17 November 2016.

This paper describes how the government's rate suppression policy has used ICBC's capital reserves to subsidize lower than required Basic program rates. In essence, the government is using policyholders' savings to keep the required rate increases from becoming an issue of public concern. Soon the capital reserve will be at minimum levels, and policyholders will be faced with the deferred bill.

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Revenue Recognition -- Fraud and Reporting Risk.

An article by D. Barry Jay Epstein reviewing revenue recognition fraud in the US.

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