Majority of BC drivers still support insurance competition – Poll

VANCOUVER, Sept. 4, 2002 – A new survey of BC motorists suggests overwhelming support for full competition and choice in BC auto insurance, allowing a level playing field for private insurers in the market. The survey was carried out by POLLARA, one of Canada’s leading polling firms.

“Considering that practically no other public issue gets this level of support, 72% is a remarkable indicator of public opinion,” says Lindsay Olson, Vice President of the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s (IBC) Pacific region. “Public support for competition and choice in auto insurance has been in the range of 70-80% in BC since IBC began its polling.”

The poll also shows that 63% are opposed to having ICBC provide all auto insurance in BC. “This issue has been one of much debate for many years and now, there seems to be a consensus in favour of competition and choice,” Olson says. “Perhaps the reason is that, in the same poll, 71% of British Columbians believe that full competition would be best for the provincial economy.”

Other highlights of the POLLARA survey indicate a majority of respondents believe that the BC government – not ICBC – should be responsible for road safety and licensing motorists. Also, many respondents disagree with ICBC’s policy of not taking into account the age of a driver when determining rates.

“ICBC regards its regulatory powers and rating policies as being popular with the public,” says Olson. “The survey demonstrates that the public is not comfortable with having an unregulated commercial monopoly making these decisions.”

IBC is hopeful the data will bring key facts to a fair and open debate. “A strong majority of people in BC want competition and choice and clearly understand the benefits including price competition, customer service, and private sector investment,” Olson says. “It’s clear British Columbians want the government to act quickly to fulfill its election promise and implement meaningful auto insurance reform.”

The Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of the private property and casualty insurance industry. It represents some 200 companies that provide more than 90 per cent of the non-government home, car and business insurance in Canada. Highlights of the poll results are available on our Web site at, or by contacting the Insurance Bureau of Canada at (604) 684-3635.