Surrey – Surrey’s business community is not willing to make up for increasing claims costs associated with poor driving. “The message was clear,” said Anita Huberman, CEO Surrey Board of Trade. “Our members want ICBC to go after bad drivers, not increase their business expenses. In this and past surveys, we know that in Surrey, our members drive to work and drive for work on a daily basis. It is the cost of doing business. Increasing rates beyond a reasonable cost-of-living per annum to fix ICBC is not supportable – 30% increase is a non-starter,” said Huberman.
The Surrey Board of Trade members were asked to respond to a survey based on the Ernst & Young Review of ICBC released late July. The survey ran from July 27 to August 4.
“The report was over 200 pages and provided numerous recommendations to fix ICBC,” said Huberman. “It was very difficult to wrestle it down into a 10 minute survey. We provided links to the report and webpage to help our members review the complexity of what was suggested.”
Nearly 100 members responded despite running in peak summer weeks. “They didn’t hold back,” said Huberman. “They were unequivocal in rejecting much of the report’s recommendations.”
All four options given in “Opportunity Two” to change the Basic Insurance Plan were strongly rejected. Opposed and strongly opposed consistently fell between 65% and 75% for all four options described in the report, which put caps on different payouts with varying rates. Nearly 70% members agreed with Attorney General David Eby, who said that no-fault insurance would not be considered.
Members did agree with some of the measures suggested in “Opportunity One” regarding driving habits, with support for doubling the number of intersection cameras and, surprisingly, speed enforcement cameras at high-risk sites. The strongest comments from members focused on distracted driving – increase penalties, increase technology solutions, and other suggestions were supported or strongly supported (between 65% and 85%).
When asked if they agreed with Minister Eby who said no photo radar, members were mixed. 48% did not agree (opposed, strongly opposed) and only 35% agreed/strongly agreed. Comments were also mixed with those who said, “Any tool that can be used to reduce speeding should be pursued,” to, “photo radar is unconstitutional,” and “it was mis-used.”
“Our members did not want yet another regulatory oversight agency or board as they view that as unnecessary bureaucracy,” said Huberman. “What they do want is improved road safety and a much more accountable, transparent governance. These where the two recommendations in Opportunity 3 that were strongly supported.”
“We will be discussing the results of the survey in full at our Transportation team meeting, along with the report, and determining next steps in terms of advocating for our members. It was very clear from the many comments throughout the survey that more needs to be done to crack down on bad drivers and linking their behaviour to their insurance premiums,” said Huberman. “This survey has given us a good indication of our members’ thoughts. Clearly, more work is required to fix ICBC for the benefit of our members.”
— 30 —