My kids are all in their twenties. All but the youngest two have left home and have launched.
When I was their age, I was married, had kids, had bought a house, and was working full-time.
Today, our kids struggle to make ends meet, pay off student loans, save for the larger purchases and develop relationships, despite having four-year degrees and great jobs.
Over the past six years, their lives have become much more expensive:
Highest rents in Canada, highest real estate prices in North America, highest gas prices in North America, and the highest cost of living in Canada.
One of those factors contributing to the high cost of living in BC is ICBC and the rates of insurance.
Starting six years ago in 2017, the rates for ICBC insurance skyrocketed. By 2020, the rates had increased by 48% or an average of 620 per insured person.
The NDP touted a reduction but did so by raising some and lowering others. Premier Eby conceded some drivers over 45 would see lower rates under a competitive insurance model but said those under 35 would see premiums further increase by 18 per cent.
Motorists under 20 would see rates rise by another whopping 37 per cent!
The impact of these raises on our youth is devastating. This means that most young adults pay more, per year in insurance, than their cars are even worth.
While transit is an option, from my house to the university would take over two hours – each way! And biking to work is not practical year-round.
Which means that they must pay these exorbitant rates to keep their car on the road.
But the rate increases were not just for those under 30. Many drivers have paid much more under this government.
It would be one thing to pay more to get more, but that is not the case.
Over the last six years, assistance for accident victims has been slashed by 30%, even as collisions have increased.
How is this possible? Going to no fault insurance, despite promises to not implement that system, has resulted in less payments to those injured.
Furthermore, I have heard from both injured and those that treat them, that the system is broken and difficult to navigate and receive the help required.
So, if less people are receiving help, then surely there are huge savings in administrative costs.
Sadly, that is not the case.
Internal operating expenses for ICBC now exceed over 1 billion dollars!
An explosion of high paid executives - 45 executives and over 1200 management staff. The number of employees with six-figure salaries at ICBC has more than doubled under this government.
34 cents of every insurance dollar goes to operating expenses at ICBC. That is incredibly high!
British Columbians don’t have extra money to give to an inefficient crown corporation that is giving them less services.
The impact of ICBC rates extends far beyond mere inconvenience; it touches the very core of British Columbian households.
Families and individuals are finding themselves forced to make difficult financial decisions, sometimes even contemplating cutting back on essentials just to keep their cars on the road.
The soaring rates have strained budgets, causing stress and anxiety for many.
In the end, what's at stake is not just a matter of insurance rates but the well-being of the very people who call this beautiful province home.
The impact is real, and it's time for action to ensure that the soaring rates don't continue to leave British Columbians paying more while getting less.
My question to you is this: What would you like to see done with ICBC?
I love hearing from you and read all of the emails you send. Please email me at Renee.Merrifield.MLA@leg.bc.ca or call the office at 250-712-3620.