A South Surrey Broco Glass co-owner says ICBC’s 14 per cent discount increase on windshield replacements will cost individual shops at least $50,000 per year.
“It’s a huge, huge number,” Alen Segrc said of the discount increase, adding that it could translate to a revenue loss of up to $150,000, depending on workload.
The ICBC policy, Segrc told Peace Arch News, is in conflict with the government’s position of supporting the working class.
“This doesn’t impact anybody but, actually, the business owners. This cut is directly impacting us as a business owner and we have to look at it. Are we going to have enough money to pay the rent? To pay the employees?” he said.
In an ICBC statement regarding the changes issued June 7, ICBC says glass repair and replacements have increased by 140 per cent over the past 10 years, to $96 million from $40 million. The reason, ICBC says, is because of an increase in both the number of claims being made and the average cost of those claims.
However, Segrc said claims are more expensive because of advancements in technology, including displays that project on glass, cameras, lane-departure warnings, rain sensors, heating devices, “and so on.”
“And with that, our requirements have changed with training and expertise that we need to have, but our rate – our door rate that we’ve had for 15 years went up by $1,” Segrc said.
ICBC’s news release says the corporation reviewed an allegation that ICBC has not increased its labour rate for glass suppliers for 20 years.
“This is also completely false,” ICBC’s statement read, adding that the most recent labour rate increase for its top-tier glass suppliers happened on Jan. 1, 2016.
Segrc took issue with the amount of the increase cited.
“If you look at what has happened in the last 15 years in this area. What was the price of property 15 years ago? What was the average income 15 years ago? What was the average rent 15 years ago? Everything went up exponentially, while our labour rate with ICBC basically stayed the same,” Segrc said. “It went up from $53.04 to $54.03, that was two years ago.”
Segrc noted that when he started the business, his employees made a starting rate of $22-$23 an hour. Now, he said, they’re all being paid more than $30, plus benefits.
“We have to start looking where can now save on our end for us to survive.”
BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson wrote a letter – which South Surrey MLA Stephanie Cadieux shared with PAN – to Attorney General David Eby, in response to ICBC’s discount announcement.
In the letter, Wilkinson urges Eby to reconsider the announced changes, and that it is “essential” that he reinstate the consultation tables between ICBC and the Automotive Retailers Associates (ARA) and the New Car Dealers (NCD).
“Unfortunately, by cancelling the two-way dialogue, the ARA and NCD were ignored last month when ICBC announced discounts would increase from 11% to 25% on top of the changes to the glass moulding program, and a re-instatement of the ‘best price policy,’” Wilkinson’s letter says.
The Attorney General’s ministry issued a statement this month, calling the changes to glass pricing “long overdue” ways to reduce its cost.
Cadieux told PAN that three South Surrey small businesses in the auto-glass industry contacted her, expressing “significant negative impacts” to their bottom line after ICBC announced the changes.
Only Broco responded to PAN’s request for interview.