Ontario Review Promises Greater Transparency and Accountability.
Commentary on certain aspects of the Ontario government's plans regarding electricity pricing and auto insurance regulation.
Commentary on certain aspects of the Ontario government's plans regarding electricity pricing and auto insurance regulation.
A commentary on a paper released by the Fraser Institute on certain aspects of the finances of ICBC.
Driver-based penalties are increasing by 20% today, with another 20% increase planned for 2019. ICBC calls the penalty a premium, which confuses this penalty with the vehicle premium. Confusion is part of the reason for the low public perception of our auto insurer.
Is the new penalty and protection fee an abuse of monopoly power and an attempt to achieve risk pricing perfection?
This paper discusses the fact that the NDP government is using cabinet orders to control ICBC's finances and keep the B.C. Utilities Commission confined. These were the tactics used by the previous government to avoid public oversight.
The just released 2017/18 annual report shows a combined Basic and Optional operating loss of $1.3 billion, and the capital reserves are now dangerously below the safety margins. Occasional Paper No. 60 reviews some of the key incicators.
Some of the key media reporting and comments on the changes to the Basic rate design announced on August 9, 2018.
The new Basic premium model targets younger drivers, and at-fault drivers to give a financial benefit to older drivers. More comments are included in Occasional Paper No. 59.
The government's decision to postpone a general rate increase until April 2019 will reduce ICBC's already low capital reserve by perhaps $150 million in 2018/19.
This paper reviews the positive 2017/18 annual reports of the public auto insurers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba for both the compulsory Basic and the optional programs. This contrasts with ICBC's forecasted combined loss of $1.4 billion.
This paper examins ICBC's main accountability reports in light of the accountability model adopted by government in the early 2000's. The level of public accountability is poor, and the government should require ICBC to make significant improvements.
My article published by The Tyee online journal; https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2018/06/07/ICBC-Changes-Insurer-Woes/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=070618
This paper reviews the key results of the government's public opinion survey on potential changes to ICBC's driver penalties and the design of Basic rates.
Between 2010 and 2015 the provincial government appropriated almost $1.2 billion of Optional policyholders' capital. Now -- with the province's finances healthy and the ICBC capital reserves almost eliminated -- would seem an appropriat time to return the funds. Occasional Paper No. 56 estimates the Basic and Optional capital shortfalls to 2021/22.
My comments on the Fraser Institute's report "The Decline and Fall of ICBC."
The recent announcement of an increase in the fare subsidy for seniors on the BC Ferries prompted me to review an earlier estimate on the cost of the 25% seniors' subsidy at ICBC's Basic insurance. If the government funded the sudsidy it would relieve some of the pressure on Basic rates.
Occasional Paper No. 54 looks at the current design for pricing risk and some of the changes being suggested in the current public consultation.
My comments on certain aspects for the latest proposals to make Basic insurance rates "fairer." It seems that most of the proposals will result in less generous discounts and greter revenue for ICBC.
ICBC's 2017/18 to 2020/21 financial forecast shows the combined capital reserve falling to dangerously low levels. However many inconsistencies make the forecast suspect. Also included is Acting CEO Nicolas Jimenez's email of March 15th, my reply of March 19th and his reply of March 28th.
The national public sector accounting rules require that ICBC's net income or loss be counted in the government's revenue. The increase in the net loss reduces revenue, but there is no change in the actual cash being transferred (which is nil). This accounting anomoly requires further review.
On 6 February 2018, minister responsible David Eby announced major changes to injury claims process and coverage, with expanded no-fault accident benefits and monetary limits, and a $5,500 cap on pain and suffering claims for "minor" injuries. The government expects that these changes will reduce annual claims costs by approximately $1.0 billion.
This paper suggests that injury claimants received only 57% of the $2.0 billion paid by ICBC in 2015 for no-fault accident benefits and injury claims. The balance was absorbed in 'transaction' costs.
This paper discusses the auto injury claim models in the states of New South Wales and Victoria, and in New Zealand, with possible lessons for BC.
On 28 January 2018 (a Sunday!) ICBC posted its third-quarteroperating results for 2017/18. The loss of $935 million, with a forecast of near $1.3 billion by year-end sparked a series of media reports; http://theprovince.com/news/bc-politics/mike-smyth-shocking-massive-losses-revealed-at-icbc-huge-rate-hikes-feared,
http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/vaughn-palmer-eby-suggests-major-reforms-to-clean-inherited-icbc-mess, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/ag-david-eby-vows-reform-to-icbc-to-avoid-massive-rate-hikes/article37784040/, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/government-changes-to-tackle-deficit-not-enough-icbc-chair/article37800884/, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/icbcs-financial-woes-blamed-on-christy-clark-era-rate-smoothing/article37813885/http://vancouversun.com/news/national/ian-mulgrew-dont-blame-us-and-dont-believe-icbc-lawyers-insist
http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/columnists/les-leyne-eby-pulls-alarm-on-icbc-s-dumpster-fire-1.23158279, http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/vaughn-palmer-a-liberal-timeline-that-would-make-the-sopranos-envious, http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/repair-shops-argue-used-parts-are-piece-in-fixing-icbc-finances,
My Commentary on how former foance minister de Jong was calling the shots on ICBC's finances. See also http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/vaughn-palmer-blame-game-aimed-at-de-jong-and-the-restless-candidates and http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/vaughn-palmer-liberals-plan-to-delay-the-fix-at-icbc-fails-miserably
ICBC recently posted its second quarter 'Statement of Operations,' which is highly deficient as a quarterly report from such an important Crown corporation. Occasiona Paer No. 50 compares the results with Saskatchewan's compulsory insurance program in an attempt to understand the reasons for the continuing losses.
The government should lower the minimum capital targets to reduce the current and forecasted capital deficiency, Given the nature of the Basic monopoly, and the near monopoly enjoyed by the Optional program, the targets should be lower, thereby reducing the pressure on future rates.
The Alberta government has limited the 2017/18 increase in the private vehicle insurance rates to 5%. It stated that the previously allowed 10% maximum increase was not inline with its affordability priority. Background and implications are provided.
This paper provides a high-level review of how ICBC's costs out-stripped revenues from 2012 to 2016/17, and focusses in bodily injury claims costs.
The paper suggests that capping pain and suffering claims for minor soft tissue injury claims will not generate sufficient savings to treturn ICBC's finances and capital reerves to a satidfactory condition.
The Manitoba regulator recently approved a 2.6% increase in Basic vehicle rates for the coming year. This paper looks at how BC rate increases compare to the publicly-owned no-fault systems in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
The government is planning changes to ICBC's insurance model to reduce costs. Occasional Paper No. 47 discusses areas where the government should re-imburse ICBC policyholders for current programs or policies that benefit the taxpayer.
On 30 November 2017, Rob Shaw of the Vancouver Sun reported that the government is actively considering a cap on claims for pain and suffering awards for minor soft tissue injuries; http://vancouversun.com/news/politics/government-considers-cap-on-minor-injury-claims-to-fix-icbc-finances The cap would be a key part of a strategy to prevent the massive losses forecast for the compulsory Basic insurance program as discussed in http://www.bcpolicyperspectives.com/media/attachments/view/doc/commentary_icbc_s_28_nov_2017_basic_forecast_29_nov_2017/pdf
A new ICBC forecast of the Basic program shows major rate hikes are required to keep the capital reserve from being fully depleted within four years.
ICBC does not publish multi-year financial forecasts, but Occasional paper No. 42 procides a scenario of the capital deletion to 31 march 2020. Little wonder that finance minister James is concerned.
ICBC's forecast for 2017/18 shows a continuation in th loss of capital. Occasional Paer No. 41 traces the loss by program from 2010 to 2017/18, and confirms the structural deficit of approximately $400 million per year in the Basic program.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Ariticle by Geordon Omand of the Canadian Press reviews the declining financial condition of ICBC; https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/british-columbias-once-feted-public-auto-insurer-in-financial-crisis/article35978986/ The story was published by the Globe and Mail and Postmedia papers.
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.
The Times Colonist editorial correctly blames the Liberal government for allowing ICBC's finances to rapidly deteriorate, and warns of hard choices to come; http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-hard-choices-ahead-for-icbc-1.21569689.
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.
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
Reprint of my article in today's Tyee; https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2017/06/16/NDP-Faces-Mess/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=160617
My article in the Tyee reviews the implications of the Liberal Party's four year revenue estimates for BC Hydro and ICBC;https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2017/05/01/Rate-Increases-BC-Hydro-ICBC/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=020517
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
This paper reviews the last four years capital depletion and the growth in the claims backlog at ICBC.
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.
A generally negative survey of the no-fault auto insurance business in Ontario, by the Globe and Mail; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-magazine/the-real-reason-ontarios-auto-insurance-rates-are-so-high/article34560827/
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.
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.
A review of the financial impacts of the cold and snowy winter on the finances of BC Hydro and ICBC.
This Fact Check concludes that ICBC's claim that fraud is costing $600 million annually is significantly exggerated.
In 2011, the government's Internal Audit and Advisory Services group conducted a review of ICBC's operations, and published its report in August; http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/iaas/pdf_docs/ICBC_Review_2012.pdf
This paper reviews Mr. Crombie's comments in a recent interview as reported by Keith Baldrey in the Burnaby News of March 6, 2017.
Keith Baldrey, in the North Shore News, writes about the looming financial crisis at ICBC;http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/columnists/baldrey-get-ready-for-massive-icbc-rate-hikes-1.10685159
A report in Bloomberg Businessweek describes how rising claims costs are forcing auto insurance price increases, providing opportunity for new entrants to the market; https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-16/insurance-bills-rise-as-texters-crash-cars
Minister Stone attempts to defend ICBC's deficit forecasts during Question Period on February 22, 2017.
Gary Mason, of The Globe and Mail, reports on the new financial forecast for ICBC; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/provinces-file-bungling-has-driven-insurance-corp-of-bc-into-trouble/article34136030/, with a backgrounder.
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.
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.
Vaughn Palmer in the Vancouver Sun comments on the timing of the review of ICBC costs and rates; http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/vaughn-palmer-liberals-in-no-rush-dealing-with-icbc-matters
In a January 8, 2017 editorial the Times Colonist says that the government has to reduce the projected increase in Basic rates; http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-find-ways-to-cut-insurance-rates-1.6542717
"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.
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.
Stephen Hume of The Vancouver Sun says lower speed limits and photo radar would reduce the frequency and severity of crashes: http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/stephen-hume-want-lower-icbc-rates-drop-speed-limits-get-tough-on-lead-foot-drivers
Pete McMartin of the Vancouver Sun writes about the growing cost of medical reports for soft tissue injuries; http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/pete-mcmartin-medical-reports-make-up-major-chunk-of-icbc-expenditure-insiders-reveal
Pete McMartin of The Vancouver Sun write about how BC is the ony province without some limit on minor pain and suffering claim awards; http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/pete-mcmartin-icbcs-death-by-a-thousand-fender-benders
Ian Mulgrew in The Vancouver Sun reports on the rise in injury claims; http://vancouversun.com/storyline/ian-mulgrew-icbcs-claims-costs-balloon-fuelled-by-antagonistic-litigious-strategy
Ian Mulgrew of The Vancouver Sun reports on rift between the judiciary and government over rejected increase in civil tariff:http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/ian-mulgrew-anton-plays-artful-dodger-over-court-fees-debacle
Ian Mulgrew of The Vancouver Sun reports on failed attempt to change civil rules tariff; http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/ian-mulgrew-attorney-general-under-fire-for-bowing-to-icbc-concerns
News 1130 story says Premier Clark fighting for affordable auto insurance rates.
Richard McCandless commentary in the Times Colonist about the high capital reserves at ICBC; http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/letters/why-we-pay-too-much-for-auto-insurance-1.1497
Stephen Hume of The Vancouver Sun provides a fact-based review of how speed increases the chances of serious injury or death; http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/stephen-hume-readers-wont-trade-away-speed-for-lower-insurance-rates
Pete McMartin's (the Vancouver Sun) srticle on the growing cost of the 25% senior discount on Basic insurance; http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/pete-mcmartin-driving-is-getting-old-the-growing-burden-of-seniors-insurance
Adrian Dix asks Auditor General Bellringer to review ICBC finances in light of projected $1.5 billion capital requirement to continue the Basic rate subsidization; http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/ndp-wants-auditor-general-to-review-icbc-finances
Times Colonist editorial syas politicians should stop using ICBC rates for political advantage; http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-unshackle-icbc-from-politics-1.3341544
My thoughts and comments on recent events concerning ICBC's rates and financial condition.
My preliminary impressions of ICBC's Basic forecast filed on 23 November 2016.
Rob Shaw of The Vancouver Sun reports on the confusion caused by the government announcement that owners of luxury cars will no longer be covered by ICBC; http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/confusion-lack-of-detail-plague-icbc-changes-on-luxury-autos
The Vancouver Sun editorial calls on the government to restore the BC Utilities Commission's authority to regulate ICBC rates, saying that the government's cap on Basic rates has put ICBC in an untenable financial position; http://vancouversun.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-political-interference-hobbles-icbc
Rob Shaw of the Vancpuver Sun reports on ICBC's five year Basic rate forecast; http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/icbc-admits-42-per-cent-in-rate-hikes-possible-for-basic-auto-insurance
Richard McCandless, in The Times Colonist, outlines the looming financial crisis at ICBC; http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/op-ed/be-prepared-for-icbc-rate-increase-shock-1.3101218
Rob Shaw reports in The Vancouver Sun about the potential financial crisis at ICBC;http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/icbc-finances-in-question-amidst-fight-to-keep-secret-rate-forecasts
Rob Shaw's article in The Vancouver Sun reporting on ICBC's reluctance to file a financial forecact with the BC Utilities Commission:http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/icbc-fighting-regulator-to-keep-future-rate-forecasts-from-public
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.
Ian Mulgrew in The Vancouver Sun reviews the effects of greater rates of legal representation on ICBC's claims costs; http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/icbcs-claims-costs-balloon-fuelled-by-antagonistic-litigious-strategy
Ian Mulgrew of The Vancouver Sun reviews cost pressures on ICBC rates for 2016; http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/ian-mulgrew-icbc-lawyers-head-on-duel-a-side-show-rates-still-going-up
My submision to the BC Utilities Commission on ICBC's 2014 rate request, including a history of the capital reserve and government directives; http://www.bcuc.com/Documents/Arguments/2015/DOC_43293_03-12-2015_McCandless_Final-Argument.pdf
My survey of ICBC's 2015 rate request and recommendations to the BC Utilities Commission; http://www.bcuc.com/Documents/Arguments/2016/DOC_45935_03-14-2016_McCandless_Final-Argument.pdf
Article in BC Studies by Malcolm G. Bird which surveys public public automobile insurance in Canada. http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/bcstudies/issue/view/182397
Commenting on the 2015 rate increase the Times Colonist advises the government to stop taking ICBC's surplus capital.http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-stop-bleeding-icbc-for-profits-1.2056594
How the government relies on ICBC's Optional insurance to generate excess profits. 3 June 2014.
On 9 August 2016 the Times Colonist editorial highlighted how the government was taking ICBC's money.http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-stop-siphoning-off-icbc-money-1.2318590
Possible negative implications of ICBCs 2016 rate changes on its Basic and Optional capital reserves. 31 August 2016.