High salaries spur calls for ICBC review

'ICBC is broken ... and needs to be fixed,' says NDP critic.

In the wake of news highlighting hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on certain ICBC salaries and expenses, more than one person is calling for a closer look at the Crown corporation.

The latest news reports come on the heels of ICBC applying to the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) for a rate hike that would see most motorists pay about $30 more in premiums next year. Basic premiums will rise by 11.2 per cent and optional premiums will be about six per cent lower if the BCUC approves the increase.

ICBC president and CEO Jon Schubert said the rate increase is needed because of climbing claims costs, which rose $200 million in the first nine months of 2011. Bodily injury costs, which will hit $1.7 billion this year, are up $350 million from five years ago.

But ICBC financial statements show Art Kirkner, a U.S. citizen hired as one of ICBC’s 15 vice-presidents in 2008 to help cut costs, received more than $188,000 for expenses claimed in 2010 – in addition to his $315,000 annual salary. In 2010, Kirkner’s salary and expenses totalled $504,505, the second-highest salary in the Crown corporation after Schubert, who pulled in $504,771. Kirkner left ICBC in July and received 12 months severance pay.

In reaction, Minister for Public Safety and Solicitor General Shirley Bond said Wednesday she has asked for a review into ICBC, which will start sometime in the new year.

Consumers Association of Canada president Bruce Cran also suggested the Crown corporation needs closer scrutiny.

“I think we need an inquiry into what’s happening at ICBC,” he said. “I have great respect for the people who work there, but they overcharge for the cost of insurance and have been for years.”

Cran doesn’t agree with the fact the provincial government takes millions from ICBC every year in dividends – $1.215 billion in the past few years; $580 million for 2010-2011 alone.

“The government is in the middle of removing $1.2 billion from ICBC and now, automobile owners and insurers face a rate hike to pay for the money the provincial government has stolen from our premiums,” Cran said. “That money should go back to the drivers, not the provincial government. It is absolutely frightening and disgusting.”

Kathy Corrigan, the NDP critic for the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor-General (the ministry responsible for ICBC), agrees the government has its hands in ICBC’s pockets far too much.

“Over the last few years government has taken hundreds of millions of dollars … they said they would take less (in ICBC dividends) each of those years but they actually took more,” Corrigan said. “That indicates to me that we have an imprudent government.”

Corrigan said the government’s and ICBC’s decisions end up hurting the average person the most, as well as those who can least afford a rate hike.

“I think ICBC is broken right now and needs to be fixed.”

– with files from CBC News

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Liquor permission considered for White Rock’s Memorial Park

Council mulls business-boosting measures, including picnic benches

South Surrey, White Rock seniors find their groove

Parking-lot line-dancing is helping keep Kent Street Activity Centre members moving during pandemic

‘Family meetup centres’ helping White Rock seniors reconnect with loved ones

Converted shipping container allows face-to-face time while ensuring physical distancing

Surrey seniors call Seniors’ Centre Without Walls, a new-to-B.C. program

‘Crazy coincidence’ saw program connect soon after COVID-19 pandemic hit

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

COVID claims 23rd Langley Lodge patient, making it the deadliest outbreak in B.C.

Coronavirus kills another senior at Langley care home, bringing B.C. total to 166

Family of dead B.C. football star urge changes to mental health policies in hospitals

Uko family disappointed in actions of Regina hospital, hosting public funeral service this weekend

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Maple Ridge woman fights WorkSafe BC over police widow’s pension

Dalila Vroom says husband, Const. Rob Vroom, died as a result of PTSD from time with Abbotsford PD

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Most Read

l -->